Arson attack targets mosque in Berlin

Arson attack targets mosque in Berlin

BERLIN – Anadolu Agency
Arson attack targets mosque in Berlin

A Turkish mosque in Berlin was targeted in an arson attack in the early hours of March 11, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.A Turkish mosque in Berlin was targeted in an arson attack in the early hours of March 11, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

The Koca Sinan Mosque, belonging to the Turkish-Muslim organization DITIB, was badly damaged in the attack.

“Witnesses told us that three assailants with covered faces threw burning material and immediately ran away,” said Bayram Türk, the head of the mosque association.        

State-run Anadolu Agency linked the attack to threats made by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to carry out more violence against Turkish targets on March 10, in protest at Turkey’s ongoing military operation in Syria’s Afrin. 

On Jan. 20, the Turkish military, alongside elements of the Free Syrian Army, launched “Operation Olive Branch” to clear Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants, the PYD’s militia, from the Afrin district.

On March 9, a PKK-affiliated website had claimed responsibility for an arson attack that targeted a Turkish community mosque in Lauffen am Neckar and posted a video footage from the attack. 

The Aksemşettin Mosque, belonging to the Muslim-Turkish association Islamic Community National View (IGMG), in the town of Lauffen am Neckar was attacked at 02:00 a.m. on March 9.        

Video footage of the attack showed four people smashing the windows and doors of the mosque with Molotov cocktails while another attacker was seen breaking the windows with stones. The attackers were later seen fleeing the scene.        

Meanwhile, German police said on March 10 they had opened a probe into the attempted murder of the imam of the mosque after the fire at the mosque near Stuttgart where Molotov cocktails were thrown.

The arson attack at the mosque in the town of Lauffen caused material damage. The imam managed to extinguish the blaze. There were no casualties.

Stuttgart prosecutors and local police said five people were being sought for the attempted murder.    

A joint statement said “several Molotov cocktails were thrown into the mosque through an open window,” adding that they were treating the incident as a possible racist or anti-Islamic attack.

The PKK has been banned in Germany since 1993 but it remains active, with an estimated 14,000 followers among the country’s Kurdish immigrant population. 

Turkey has long accused Germany of not taking serious measures against the PKK’s fund-raising, recruitment and propaganda activities in the country.        

Germany has a 3 million-strong Turkish community, many of whom are second- and third-generation German-born citizens of Turkish descent whose grandparents moved to the country during the 1960s.