Germany to regulate mosque funding from Gulf countries

Germany is going to regulate donations flowing from countries in the Arabian Gulf to its mosques to prevent the spread of Salafist ideologies, reports say.

It wants Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, to register donations and state subsidies being sent to mosques in Germany, Suddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Gulf countries should alert German authorities if any religious organisation in Germany seeks financial support or advice from any Gulf-based agency or group.

Germany will henceforth involve domestic and foreign intelligence services to monitor the senders and recipients of funds to mosques. In fact, it has already started such surveillance since this spring.

Suddeutsche Zeitung said Kuwait’s cooperation with Germany on this front is already yielding positive results. But other states are still hesitant.

Germany’s call to regulate mosque donations comes after its Interior Minister Horst Seehofer made a call last month to reduce foreign influence on such shrines.

In a related step, the government is planning to introduce a tax on mosques to make them financially self-reliant and prevent radicalisation through funds from the Arabian Gulf.

Based on reports from the Berlin-based Joint Counter-terrorism Center (GTAZ), federal agencies have been monitoring Salafist missionary activities from Arab Gulf states since 2015 when tens of thousands of refugees flooded Germany.

GTAZ reports say Saudi Arabia has long-term strategies to influence radical groups of Islam, a charge Riyadh denies.

According to the reports, missionary groups from Gulf countries are spreading Salafism in Germany and Europe.