The German-based Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) has claimed that its central administration was not aware of anti-Semitic and anti-Christian messages posted by its members on Facebook, vowing to investigate them.
Deutsche Welle reported on the statement of DİTİB, an organization that has nearly 800,000 members and 900 associations connected to mosques of the Turkish congregation in Germany. The country hosts at least 3 million people of Turkish origin.
DİTİB Executive Director Nevzat Yaşar Aşıkoğlu issued a statement in Cologne describing the hate messages as provocative and said that such actions would have consequences.
Hessen radio announced on Sunday that DİTİB’s Facebook account spread hate speech against Jews and Christians in Turkish.
DİTİB recently admitted that some of its imams had acted as informants against sympathizers of the Gülen movement, after which Germany launched a probe into DİTİB’s spying activities.
A spokesperson from the German Interior Ministry who spoke to Deutsche Welle on Saturday said: “The probe launched by the security units against DİTİB imams regarding the allegations on the agenda is ongoing. There is an effort to determine whether the information [relayed to Turkey] has any consequences from the perspective of criminal law.”
The spokesperson, whose name was not revealed by Deutsche Welle, said the ministry expects the DİTİB administration to assist in the probe.
DİTİB said in a report published in the Rheinische Post newspaper on Jan. 12 that some of its preachers spied at Turkey’s request.
Germany’s largest Turkish Islamic group earlier denied allegations that Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) ordered DİTİB to report on the activities of the Gülen movement.
DİTİB said “some imams wrongly” informed on suspected Gülen followers in Germany.
“We deeply regret this mishap and have spoken to Diyanet about this,” DITIB Secretary-General Bekir Alboğa told Rheinische Post, according to Deutsche Welle.
DİTİB should provide German authorities with the names of the imams who collected information or acted on the orders of the Turkish government, Volker Beck, a lawmaker for the opposition Greens, told Deutsche Welle.
A document dated Sept. 20, 2016 said that the Diyanet asked Turkish missions and religious representatives abroad to profile Gülen movement expatriates living in their respective countries.