The German government recently required that all imams who work in its prisons must pass official security checks. Since then most of the imams for the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (Ditib) — an arm of the Turkish state — have declined to participate in the vetting process.
Ditib Imams in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) refuse safety checks
Since September of 2016, imams who work for prisons have had to pass a security check through the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Since then the number of admitted Ditib Imams has dropped drastically in NRW.
The Imams of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) refuse security vetting through the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution on a grand scale. The number of imams of the Islam association Ditib, which holds Friday prayers in prisons in NRW, has shrunk drastically from 117 in 2015 to 12 in 2017. These numbers were cited by the NRW state government in answer to an inquiry from the Rheinische Post.
Since February of this year, imams have only been able to enter prison property if they have passed security vetting measures. These measures are not met by a predominant number of Turkish imams who are sent to Germany by the Turkish General Consul through Ditib.
NRW Justice Minister Thomas Kutschaty (SPD) stated that security measures and rules for people who are working in correctional facilities are there for everyone. “We have decided that all of the spiritual chaplains have to be security-checked in advance through the Constitution office. Anyone who does not participate in that will not set foot inside,” the justice minister said.
Ditib has now asked for a meeting, explained Kutschaty. “I am expecting that with this meeting misunderstandings will be cleared up, and that the willingness and readiness to be vetted will increase. The ball is in Ditib’s court the now.”
Ditib is directly controlled by the government in Ankara
The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religion [Ditib] is direct subject of the Turkish religious administration Diyanet in Ankara. The state government in NRW ordered the security checks in September of last year, after the appearance of a controversial cartoon by the Turkish religious administration made the rounds in which the death of a martyr was presented as a positive thing.
Furthermore, it has been known since at least December of last year that Ditib imams and religious attachés have been accused of spying in multiple German cities. The clerics also are accused of having participated in writing extensive reports about alleged Gülen supporters.