The Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque in Berlin-Moabit is considered a flagship of liberal Islam and also offers a home to homosexual and queer people. The founders and guests have repeatedly been attacked by fundamentalists due to the community’s progressive stance. Now the mosque, founded by women’s rights activist Seyran Ateş, has apparently even become the target of suspected terrorists.

According to the Federal Prosecutor General, seven Islamists from Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan who were arrested in North Rhine-Westphalia in July 2023 targeted the mosque as a target for an attack. The accusation is based on photos of the place of worship sent via Telegram message in July 2022. The men, who traveled from Ukraine, will appear before the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court from the end of July. WELT AM SONNTAG has exclusive access to the charges.

The news portal “t-online” reported on the alleged terrorist plans against the Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque in October. According to the indictment, the accused, aged between 21 and 47, also considered attacks for which they were said to have conducted research into the daily routines of religious Jews. The men also considered a terrorist act at a fair in Cologne. The group was independent, but acted in the interests of the terrorist militia “Islamic State” (IS). Six accused also donated several thousand euros to IS.

Experts are eagerly awaiting the trial because the alleged IS connections of some of the accused could provide information about international terrorist structures. According to the prosecution, the men had the best contacts with leading cadres of the Afghan IS offshoot “Islamic State Khorasan Province” (ISPK). The group is currently considered to be particularly powerful. It made headlines in March with the attack on an event hall near Moscow that left almost 150 people dead. In Germany and other Western countries, ISPK attacks have been prevented by prior arrests, according to the authorities.

According to the indictment, one of the men now accused underwent military training with IS. Others have already been imprisoned in other countries because of IS connections.

The alleged leader, Abdusamad A., who was arrested in the Netherlands, is said to have led a terrorist group in Kyiv as an IS member. In Germany, according to the indictment, 28-year-old Ata A. acted as spokesman. According to investigations, he had contact with two ISPK supporters who were arrested in Strasbourg before Christmas 2022 for alleged attack plans. Three defendants are said to have known an ISPK terrorist who carried out a suicide attack on a Sikh temple in Kabul in June 2022, leaving several people dead.

According to the indictment, some of the men had already shown their willingness to use violence in their home countries. The Kyrgyz Abrorjon K., nicknamed “The Lost One”, is said to have beaten a man to death with a wooden bat during a robbery in Ukraine. According to the indictment, the Turkmen Ata A., who was working as a bouncer in Ukraine, threw a man to the ground so hard that he died.

According to the indictment, the accused met in Ukraine. They probably entered Germany at the beginning of 2022 with forged documents. According to the files, six of the seven men are required to leave the country. The indictment does not explain why they were not deported despite their criminal or terrorist past.

According to the investigation, they spent their time in Germany consuming IS propaganda, sending each other photos from beheading videos, or calling the “infidels” “trash.” One of the accused is said to have examined chemicals for carrying out an attack in a hardware store in Gelsenkirchen. According to the indictment, Ata A. placed plastic bottles in a suitcase to test the construction of a suitcase bomb.

At the beginning of 2023, an acquaintance is said to have offered him a Stinger missile for 5,000 euros. A. refused. According to the indictment, he had no money to buy a pistol that was offered to him.

In spring 2022, according to the prosecution, Ata A. asked a fellow activist via Telegram message: “When are we going to carry out an attack here?” Otherwise, the men spoke in cryptic terms. According to the Attorney General, there were no concrete preparations for an attack. It is unclear whether the findings are sufficient for a conviction. Some of the accused probably do not attach any importance to the proceedings anyway. Ata A. is said to have told a fellow activist: “I don’t give a damn about your laws.”

Those responsible for the Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque decided to temporarily close the place of worship due to the threat of terrorism. It is now open again. However, visitors must register. The mosque’s founder, Seyran Ateş, says: “The ongoing threat situation forces us to do this.”

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