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Calls To End Iranian Center’s German City Contract Due To Israel Hate

Benjamin Weinthal
26th September 2017 - The Jerusalem Post

A leading politician from the city of Hamburg urged on Monday the cancellation of the city’s contract with an Iranian-regime controlled institution because it participates in the annual al-Quds Day rally in Berlin, which calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Carsten Ovens, from the Christian Democratic Union fraction in Hamburg’s legislative body, told The Jerusalem Post that the “CDU is calling for the suspension of the agreements” because “Israel’s right to exist and the freedom of the Jewish people are not subject to negotiation.

“A participation in al-Quds Day is therefore out of the question and contradicts the contractually agreed upon tolerance toward other cultures. The IHZ [Islamic Center of Hamburg] must distance itself from all actions against the State of Israel and without ifs and buts recognize all legal fundamental rights. Otherwise the IHZ cannot be a partner of Hamburg,” he said.

Iran’s Blue Mosque, the Islamic Academy and the Islamic Center of Hamburg are widely considered the long arm institutions in Germany of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Hamburg-based newspaper Abendblatt, urged sanctions against the Iranian regime operated Islamic Center of Hamburg in a mid-September commentary – including cancellation of the city agreement with the center – because of IHZ support for the al-Quds Day rally.

The paper’s deputy editor Jens Meyer-Wellmann wrote in his commentary titled “The Islamic associations violated the contract” that the city of Hamburg and “leading representatives of Hamburg’s Islamic Center of Hamburg and the Blue Mosque... participated, according to the intelligence agency, again in the Israel hostile al-Quds Day despite continued warnings.” Meyer-Wellmann called for an end to the city’s cooperation with the Islamic Center of Hamburg.

He added that it is “not only an affront against all good-willed Hamburg citizens for whom the peaceful living together of all religions is a heartfelt concern. It is also a repeated blatant violation of agreement” with the city.

Hamburg’s social democratic government negotiated a 2012 agreement with Muslim organizations that pledged common values and peaceful activities and tolerance. The contracts says the Islamic Center of Hamburg agreed to “international understanding and tolerance toward other cultures, religions and world views.”

Some of the additional provisions contained in the city’s contract with Muslim NGOs include religious education and recognition of Islamic holidays. The agreement calls on Islamic groups not to discriminate against women and homosexuals.

Hamid Reza Torabi, head of the Islamic Academy of Germany – part of the Iranian regime-owned Islamic Center of Hamburg – held a poster in downtown Berlin during the 2016 al-Quds rally urging the “rejection of Israel” and terming the Jewish state “illegal and criminal.”

Critics say al-Quds Day calls for genocidal antisemitism against Jewish Israelis. Torabi is a key organizer of the al-Quds event in Berlin. The Islamic Center buses pro-Hezbollah and pro-Iranian regime members and activists to the annual event.
The al-Quds Day rally is also a hotbed of BDS’s campaign against the Jewish state.

Berlin’s Mayor Michael Müller said earlier this month that will seek to outlaw the next al-Quds Day march in Berlin.

Meyer-Wellman lamented in his commentary that the city contract with Islamic NGOs does not call for sanctions. The commentary also took to task The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (referred to as DITIB in Germany) for its anti-Western and anti-Christian views. Meyer-Wellman wrote that either the Islamic groups evict their extremists or cooperation with them should be cancelled.

The Abendblatt has a paid subscription circulation of over 176,000 in the port city which is home to 1.7 million residents.

Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow at the nonpartisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies. You can follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal.

You can follow the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Twitter @FDD.


germany, iran, israel