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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Scandal in the Ditib Center in Cologne: The Taliban from the Netherlands

In Cologne, a Taliban official praised his regime in Afghanistan. There is great outrage, but the man entered the country legally via the Schengen border.

Portrait of Abdul Bari Omar

The Kabul-Cologne Connection: Abdulbari Omar in November 2021 in the Afghan capital Photo: epa

The excitement over the lecture by a Taliban official who spoke in a Ditib mosque in Cologne has calmed down somewhat. The man entered the Netherlands with a Schengen visa without the knowledge of German authorities. Ditib also knew nothing about the lecture and has emphatically distanced himself from the Taliban.

On Thursday, high-ranking Taliban official Abdulbari Omar spoke to around 70 listeners in Cologne about the Taliban’s successes, who have been in control of Afghanistan again since August 2021. The lecture took place in a Ditib mosque in Cologne-Chorweiler. Ditib is a major Islamic association controlled by Turkey.

When recordings of the lecture appeared on X (formerly Twitter), there was great outrage. “Nobody is allowed to offer radical Islamists a platform in Germany,” criticized Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD). “This visit leaves you stunned,” said Cologne CDU MP Serap Güler. And the Foreign Office emphasized that the Taliban official had not received a German visa to enter the country.

It has since emerged that Abdulbari Omar took part in a World Health Organization (WHO) conference in the Netherlands earlier this month. Omar is the head of the Afghan Food and Drug Administration and was formerly Afghanistan’s Minister of Health.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution is also based in Chorweiler

The Netherlands apparently issued Omar a visa for the entire Schengen area, with which he was then able to enter Cologne completely legally across the already uncontrolled border. The process is now being investigated in the Netherlands, bwas set up by WDR, especially since the Dutch Health Minister Ernst Kuipers had his photo taken with Omar. But Kuipers now emphasized that he didn’t know who it was.

Ditib confirmed that the lecture took place in her rooms. However, the lecture hall was rented to an Afghan association. After the association initially named by Ditib protested that it had nothing to do with the lecture, Ditib corrected his information. The actual organizer was the “Kunar Youth Cultural Association”. Kunar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. As you can see in the video, there were no young people at the lecture, only adult men.

Ditib emphasized loudly Cologne City Gazette, that they knew nothing about the lecture in advance and that the organizer had violated the rental agreement. Political events were excluded. Ditib expressly distanced himself from the Taliban: “The Taliban’s inhumane, misogynistic and anti-freedom mental attitude cannot in any way be legitimized by our faith, and we as Muslims are firmly opposed to this interpretation.”

Loud Picture The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution did not know anything about Abdulbari Omar’s planned appearance – although the Federal Office is also based in Cologne-Chorweiler.

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