Authorities in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen and Berlin decided to curb the activity of the local mosques due to their links to Hezbollah, Reuters reports. Israel and the United States had been pushing Berlin to ban the Iran-backed organisation.
The recent police raids in four mosque associations in Germany cities, Dortmund and Muenster, have demonstrated the serious intentions of the local authorities regarding Hezbollah’s activity on the German soil.
The European country has banned all activity by the Lebanese movement Hezbollah on its soil and designated it a terrorist organisation, the country’s interior ministry said on Thursday.
Raids come after Israel and the United States had been pushing Berlin to outlaw the controversial Lebanese movement. According to the data of the security officials, up to 1,050 people in Germany are part of Hezbollah’s military arm. These figures made authorities to curb the activity of the terroristic group.
Over the years, both Israel and the United States had been pushing Berlin to ban the Iran-backed organisation.
The ban wasn’t the first move of the German government against Hezbollah. Earlier, Bundestag had previously distinguished between Hezbollah’s political arm and its military units, which have fought alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s army in Syria.
A spokesman said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had banned the activities of Hezbollah.
“Even in times of crisis, the rule of law is capable of acting,” tweeted the spokesman.
The EU classifies Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group, but not its political wing. Last December, Germany’s parliament approved a motion urging Chancellor’s government to ban all activities by Hezbollah on German soil, citing its “terrorist activities,” especially in Syria.
The US Secretary of State also expressed the hope that Berlin would follow the UK in banning Hezbollah. Britain introduced legislation in February of last year that classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.
On Thursday, police raided four mosque associations in Dortmund and Muenster in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen and Berlin which they believe are close to Hezbollah, the interior ministry confirmed.