by Florian Flade
German police arrested five men on suspicision of terror recruiting in Frankfurt. Among the suspects – prominent Internet cleric Abdel Latif.
In the early morning hours of Tuesday, 50 German policemen raided six locations in Frankfurt am Main, arresting five suspected Jihadi recruiters, among them a prominent Moroccan cleric. The suspects, police says, are accused of recruiting young men for terrorist training abroad. Their nationalities range from German, Moroccan, Eritrean, Afghan to Turkish.
Abdel Latif, a 39 year-old Moroccan preacher from the Frankfurt region, is said to have spread “Salafi ideology” in mosques in Frankfurt-Ginnheim and Frankfurt-Griesheim to call Muslim men for Jihad and send them to Pakistani and Afghan training camps. He is a prominent figure in the “DawaFFM” missionary network based in Frankfurt. Abdel Latif not only preaches inside the Frankfurt mosques but also organizes and attends “Islam Seminaries”, popular Salafi weekend events where several preachers are giving lectures to groups of young men and women.
According to several sources, the police raids came as a result of the investigation into the case of Haddid N., a Frankfurt resident of Afghan descent, who was arrested by US forces while on a visit to his father in Kabul. He was imprisoned in Bagram US Military prison and held for days before his release end of January.
German police had allegedly questioned Haddid´s sister after he had traveled to Dubai and did not return to Germany but instead took a flight to Afghanistan. Suspicion was high, Haddid N. had gone to Afghanistan to attend Jihadi training camps. German authorities had the 23year-old University student on their watch-list up to Mid-July 2010 and then dropped the case because there was no evidence N. did plan to leave Germany for terrorist means.
Yesterday´s police raid might be the result of Haddid N.´s questioning. He is said to have attended lectures by Abdel Latif and might even have been radicalized in the raided Frankfurt mosques. Frankfurt newspaper FAZ is reporting Haddid N. was on his way to a terror camp when he was arrested. Abdel Latif and other people in the Frankfurt Islamist community are suspected of having sent him.
Four suspects – age 22-29 – have been released by the police although theinvestigation is still going on. Preacher Abdel Latif remains in police custody.
UPDATE: The German Salafi group “DAWAFFM” (Dawah in Frankfurt am Main) has released a video statement, explaining that Sheikh Abdel Latif was only questioned by the police after his private apartment was raided. He was then released later and lost his job due to the German action on Tuesday morning. No other member of the group is in police custody right now. The accusations against Abdel Latif were an “attack on Islam”, the group claims.