Mosque Used by 9/11 Plotters Is Closed

Posted on August 11, 2010

Hamburg authorities closed a mosque with a history of indoctrinating and radicalizing young people (including several of the 9/11 hijackers) and serving as a meeting place for jihadists. Said Christoph Ahlhaus, secretary of the interior for the city of Hamburg, “Behind the scenes, a supposed cultural organization shamelessly used the freedoms of our democratic rule of law to promote holy war.”

The New York Times
August 9, 2010
Berlin, Germany

The authorities in Hamburg said Monday that they had shut down the mosque where several of the hijackers involved in the Sept. 11 attacks had met, asserting that it remained a source of radicalization nearly a decade later.

The Masjid Taiba mosque in Hamburg, known at the time of the hijackings in 2001 as Al Quds mosque, was “closed effective immediately,” according to a statement by the Hamburg Interior Ministry. German television showed blue-uniformed police officers carrying computers out of the mosque in the St. Georg neighborhood.

That the small mosque near Hamburg’s main train station was still in operation and still, according to law enforcement officials, indoctrinating young people with a form of Islam that encouraged violence demonstrated the challenges faced by Western democracies like Germany in controlling extremism without impinging on civil rights and religious freedom.

The mosque had been under surveillance for years, but efforts to close it received new urgency after a group of radicalized young people associated with the mosque, most of them German citizens with roots in Muslim countries, traveled last year to the region along the border shared by Afghanistan and Pakistan. Officials said clearing the legal and bureaucratic obstacles to closing a mosque was a slow process, one that finally succeeded Monday.

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