German Authorities Target Radical Islamists in Nationwide Raids

  • Some 190 search-and-seizure operations in 10 German states
  • Government bans Salafist group accused of radicalizing youth

German authorities conducted nationwide raids early Tuesday against a radical Islamist movement after the Interior Ministry banned the Salafist organization, accusing it of radicalizing youths.

About 190 searches and seizures were conducted in the early hours in 10 German states, from North Rhine-Westphalia in the west to the capital Berlin in the east. The ban focuses on a group known as DWR, a German acronym for "The True Religion," which held events in inner cities to distribute translations of the Koran to youths.

Policemen enter a mosque in Hamburg, Nov. 15.

Photographer: Christian Charisius/AFP via Getty Images

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said more than 140 youths had been radicalized through the DWR-organized meetings and traveled to Syria to fight as jihadists in the civil war. The Koran-distribution campaigned involved using "hate messages" and radicalizing young men with "conspiracy theories," the ministry said.

"We’re sending a clear message today that there is no place in our society for radical, potentially violent Islamism," de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin.

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