BERLIN – The German government provides €283,150 to a radical pro-Iranian regime Shi’ite umbrella organization as part of a program to counter extremism. The funds will support the activities of the umbrella organization the Shi’ite communities of Germany (IGS) until the end of 2019, according to a Friday article in Bild newspaper.
The paper wrote that money from the EU’s Internal Security Fund will be administered by Germany’s federal criminal agency for the Shi’ite umbrella organization. The aim of the grant to the pro-Iranian regime group is to promote “deradicalization” and “prevent extremism,” according to Bild.
Hamburg’s most recent intelligence report from 2016, which monitors threats to Germany’s democracy, includes a reference to the IGS and a number of its members’ organizations, including the Islamic Center of Hamburg. The German government classifies the Shi’ite umbrella group as “influenced by extremism,” it said.
Hamid Reza Torabi, head of the Islamic Academy of Germany – part of the Iranian regime-owned Islamic Center of Hamburg – held up a poster in downtown Berlin during the 2016 al-Quds rally urging the “rejection of Israel” and terming the Jewish state “illegal and criminal.” The Islamic Center buses pro-Hezbollah and pro-Iranian regime members and activists to the annual al-Quds Day rally calling for Israel’s destruction. The rally is also a hotbed of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against the Jewish state.
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the President of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that “this is yet another example demonstrating that European government funding for NGOs is entirely out of control. Every year, the EU and individual state governments throw hundreds of millions annually at fringe NGOs without due diligence.”
He added: “In this case, the money appears to be going to a radical Iranian front group – in other cases, the NGOs receiving ‘human rights’ grants are reportedly linked to PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] terrorists. The excuse that governments fund projects and not NGOs themselves are a transparent fiction. Officials who channel money to a radical Iran-linked NGO for ‘deradicalization’ must be held accountable.”
The Bild reported that €19,739 are being processed for a transfer to the Shi’ite umbrella group. The pro-mullah regime organization wants to implement a program titled: “Extreme Engaged! Competence Program for Young Muslims.”
The German-Iranian public intellectual Nasrin Amirsedghi told the Post that the “IGS is directly supported by the mullahs. All Shi’ite communities in Germany are dependent on Iran. What is not understandable is that the German authorities sponsor the associations with tax-payer money, which support Islamic extremists and terrorists across the world. How blind can one be in Germany is a puzzle for me.” Amirsedghi has written extensively on Iranian human rights violations and is an expert on the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Shi’ite umbrella organization declared on its website that “Jerusalem is forever the capital of Palestine.” The Shi’ite religious extremists also posted an anti-gay marriage article on its association website.
The Iranian Ayatollah Reza Ramezani is a member of the umbrella group and serves as the representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Sonja Kock, a spokeswoman for the German Interior Ministry, defended the Merkel administration’s work with the IGS and other Muslim groups in the Shi’ite umbrella organization because the funds are designed to “support a strong Muslim engagement against Islamic extremism.”
She told the Post the Germany’s sponsorship of the program means the funded Muslim groups will “play an essential role as civil society actors.”
She said the intelligence agency reports on Islamic groups can be “assessed differently.”
Kock added that financial aid to the IGS does not contravene public funding.
The IGS a did not immediately respond to queries by press time.