Germany closes Al-Mustafa Community Centre citing links to Hezbollah

Bremen authorities accuse it of 'actively promoting violence'

Fighters of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah march at a military parade in Baalbek, in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa valley. AFP
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A German city has ordered the closure of a community centre citing links to Hezbollah and anti-Israel literature discovered in its premises.

Authorities in Bremen have shutdown the Al-Mustafa Community Centre due to alleged support for terrorism against Israel.

Ulrich Mäurer, Bremen’s interior minister, said the measure was “absolutely necessary" for public security. “Al-Mustafa actively propagates and promotes violence or comparably serious acts contrary to international law such as terrorism against the state of Israel,” he said in a statement.

“The ban of this association is therefore absolutely necessary. It was also proven that there were anti-Israel books and writings in the association's premises, including, for example, a flyer by the political and religious leader of Iran.

“The flyer contains messages aimed solely at negating the legitimacy of the state of Israel and using violence to resist Israel.”

A report by a Bremen intelligence agency previously alleged the centre has collected donations for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In 2020, Germany’s Federal Interior Ministry outlawed all Hezbollah activities following similar moves by the US, UK, Canada and many European nations.

Earlier this year, the US Treasury Department announced further sanctions on Hezbollah financiers. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the actions were “in solidarity with the Lebanese people, whose security and sovereignty remains threatened by Hezbollah's corrupt and destabilising activities".

Last year Germany announced a ban on three organisations it said were financing Hezbollah.

“Anyone who supports terrorism will not be safe in Germany,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said.

A supporter of Lebanon's Hezbollah gestures as he holds a Hezbollah flag in Marjayoun, Lebanon May 7, 2018. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

“Regardless of what guise its supporters appear in, they will not find a place of refuge in our country.”

The three associations banned were German Lebanese Family, Humans for Humans and Give Peace.

The interior ministry said the groups were suspected of raising funds for families of deceased Hezbollah fighters.

A report by Berlin's intelligence services said Hezbollah was not present in Germany under its true name but had supporters who gathered donations and took part in annual demonstrations.

Updated: March 24, 2022, 1:59 PM
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