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Taliban representative spoke at a Turkish-run mosque in Germany

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A Taliban representative gave a speech at a mosque run by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB), which operates under Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet, according to photos posted by the chief spokesman for the Taliban-run Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on Friday.

“The head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Abdul Bari Omar, addressed a meeting of Afghans in Germany and answered their questions. He told the participants that there is security in the country, the process of reconstruction is going on, we should all contribute to the development of the country and use our capital in the development of the country,” Zabihullah Mujahid said on X, formerly known as Twitter, along with photos of the event, where the acronym DİTİB is visible next to the German flag.

“We condemn the appearance of Taliban representative Abdul Bari Omar in Cologne in the strongest possible terms. According to our data, no visa was issued by any of our visa offices. We are examining further measures in close cooperation with the domestic authorities and partners,” the German foreign ministry posted on X.

“The trip was not announced to us. We do not recognize the Taliban. As long as the Taliban in #Afghanistan blatantly tramples on human rights, especially the rights of women and girls, there will be no normalization with the Taliban regime,” the ministry added.

Following the reactions to the images circulated on social media, the management of the DİTİB mosque in Cologne, where the conference was held, issued a statement saying that the event organized by the Afghan Cultural Association in Cologne on Nov. 16 was approved “on the understanding that a religious event would take place.”

“Contrary to the agreement, however, this became a political event to which an unknown speaker was invited,” the statement read.

The statement said DİTİB was assured by the organizers that there would be no political discussions at the event, adding that they were “shocked by this incident.”

DİTİB was founded by the Diyanet in 1984 in Germany at a time when more fundamentalist Islamic movements that were banned in Turkey had become increasingly popular among the Turkish population in Germany.

DİTİB has been accused of acting as the long arm of the Turkish government following a 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Some imams are alleged to have acted on the orders of Turkish diplomatic posts to spy on followers of the Gülen movement, which Ankara blames for the failed coup.

In August 2018 the German Interior Ministry announced that the German government would no longer be funding projects run by DİTİB after the organization was involved in a series of scandals.

Most of the German government’s funding for DITIB involved support for counterextremism programs and aiding refugees. About €6 million ($6.9 million) had been provided to the group since 2012.

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