by Florian Flade
After Hamburg´s notorious 9-11 Mosque „Masjid Taiba“ was closed last year, radical Salafis are searching for a place to meet and worship. In a small North German community they found a new home – one of them a 18 year-old convert who threatens local Jewish Community officials.
„Islamic Hacker“ – Convert Harry M. threatened Jewish Community Leader
In the morning hours of August 9 2010 German police raided Hamburg´s most notorious mosque „Masjid Taiba“. Hamburg´s interior ministry had ordered the closure of the building situated in the St.Georg neighborhood near the main train station. Nine years ago, on September 11th 2001 a group of regular visitors of the mosque committed the worst terrorist attack in modern history. Mohammed Atta, Ziad Jarrah and the others of the so-called „Hamburg Cell“ had worshipped, prayed and met in the rooms of then called „Al Quds Mosque“. The mosque had become the centre of radical Islam in Germany. Ultra-religious Islamists of various nationalities and ethnic backgrounds formed a Salafi community that was under the watchful eye of Hamburg´s counter-terrorism officials.
Rumors said „Masjid Taiba“ was filled with wiretapping tools and electronic devices to record all sermons and private conversation. The Jihadi mosque where worshippers praised the 9/11 hijackers and German militants fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq as „holy warriors“, had been infiltrated by Hamburg´s intelligence agency but nevertheless remained the ideological heartland for Islamic fanatics sharing the same ideas and wish about dying a martyr´s death in the Jihad against the unbelievers.
Even with police, intelligence and politicians keeping a close eye on the famous „Mosque of Mohammed Atta“, a group of young men and women from the mosque community was able to leave Germany in Spring 2009, travel to Pakistani Waziristan and join terrorist groups.
Last year Hamburg´s politicians decided to put an end to the Jihadi temple in St.Georg. But while to most observers the closure of the radical mosque seemed as a good and long-awaited measure to fight religious extremism, counter-terrorism authorities were shocked and rather disappointed by the decision to close „Masjid Taiba“.
Since 9/11 Hamburg´s fanatics could be monitored rather easily because they met and prayed in one place – the now closed mosque. Where would these Islamists re-group now? Police had dried the lake intelligence agents were fishing in for years. Who could have wished for dozens of radical Islamists freely roaming the streets of Hamburg, meeting in private apartments or secret basements that could not be monitored and wiretapped?
Nearly half a year after „Masjid Taiba“ was closed it seems Hamburg´s radical Salafis have found a new home – in peaceful provincial Pinneberg. About 18km northwest of Hamburg City, a small backyard mosque, described by German Verfassungschutz as „a problem“, has turned into the new meeting and worshipping place for the former visitors of „Masjid Taiba“. For weeks long-bearded men, young converts and fulling-veiled women are coming to Pinneberg and meet in the „As-Sunnah Mosque“ belonging to the „Muslimische Vereinigung Pinneberg e.V“.
One of those mosque visitors is a Rap-Musician formerly known as „Deso Dogg“. The 35 year-old Denis Cuspert of Ghanian origin was born in Berlin and started a successful career as a street gansta rapper, singing about crime, drugs, women and life in the poor Berlin suburbs. In November 2010 „Deso Dogg“ announced he would leave the Music business and instead focus on his new faith – Islam. He converted after getting involvement with Germany´s biggest Salafi Dawah organization „Die Wahre Religion“, led by White convert Pierre Vogel („Abu Hamza“). Rapper „Deso Dogg“ is now preacher „Abou Maleeq“.
During a Islam seminar some weeks ago „Abou Maleeq“ sang a German rap song that caused controversy because it included the lyrics „Allah willing, we fight, die as martyrs, eye on the enemy, in the Name of Allah“. In Pinneberg´s As-Sunnah Mosque, the former Berlin rapper wanted to sing the very same song. Residents and local politicians heard of the upcoming visit and protested against it. Jihad was not welcomed in Pinneberg.
In the end „Abou Maleeq“ did not rap about martyrdom and jihad but talked about how he came to Islam. The community leaders seemed satisfied. Still, the mosque´s new visitors were seen as increasing problem. Fanaticism slowly but surely streamed into Pinneberg.
Last week a picture emerged on a German Jihadi website. „Dirty Jew“ the text read. On the picture there was a man crossed out with red paint. „Be careful so Allah is not punishing you in this life with death“, the text said, „Allah´s punishment can reach you anywhere!“ The threat is even more concerning as the identity of the man seen on the website is widely known in Pinneberg – it is Wolfgang Seibert, head of Pinneberg´s Jewish Community.
Seibert had called upon local authorities to close „As-Sunnah Mosque“ before it could turn into a new „Masjid Taiba“ on the outskirts of Hamburg. After the death threats appeared on the Internet, Seibert is scared. „I was scared for my family“, he said, „But I will not back down.“
With his demand for a mosque-closure he had upset the 18 year-old Salafi convert Harry M.. M. is the administrator of the now-closed German website „Islamic Hacker Union“. He is the one who posted the threats against Wolfgang Seibert. „Those dirty kuffar, may Allah destroy them!“, M. wrote on the Internet after Seibert called for the closing of Pinneberg´s radical mosque.
Harry M. had visited „As-Sunnah Mosque“ several times in the past. Known as „Isa al-K.“ he spread the message of radical Islam on Internet forums and social networks as well as on his own website „Islamic Hacker Union“. In a Youtube Video that was deleted a few days ago, Harry M. tells about his former life as a Non-Muslim, a teenage life full of alcohol and drugs. A report highlights M. was one of the first residents of Hamburg to complete a advance training program for IT Software experts. But that was before M. came into contact with radical preachers and the Salafi missionary movement in Germany. Since then the Hamburg teenager and IT-expert is caught in a world of Jihad and religious fanaticism.
Yesterday evening police raided M.´s apartment, searching for terrorism-related material and confiscating his computers. M.´s website „Islamic Hacker Union“ where the threats against Jewish Community leaders were posted, was closed and is now offline. The Jihadi hacker was questioned by the police but not arrested.
Meanwhile the landlord of the building housing the „As-Sunnah Mosque“ in Pinneberg said he had been fouled and tricked by the mosque management. He has terminated the contract of the mosque chairman. On June 30 2011 the Salafi community will have to re-settle elsewhere. Monitoring several dozen potential Jihadis and individuals supporting violence against Christians and Jews will now become an even more difficult task.