The following text was read today (May 4) at 13:45 by its author, Margareta Flygt, a freelance cultural journalist with a background as an editor and translator, on the culture program OBS of the Swedish State Radio P1.
You can listen to and read about it here.
The topic is the book Eine Moschee in Deutschland: Nazis, Geheimdienste und der Aufstieg des politischen Islam im Westen (“A Mosque in Germany: Nazis, Intelligence Services, and the Rise of Political Islam in the West”) by Stefan Meining.
Many thanks to LN for the following translation:
How Munich became the center for Islamic terrorists
The United States’ intelligence services spent more than a decade trying to capture Osama bin Laden, following the terrorist attacks against the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Saalam.
Now they have succeeded, Osama bin Laden’s body has been lowered into the sea, and in newspapers and on the Internet it is speculated whether the world has become a safer place.
Looking back it is possible to detect many different times and places where things happened and that in one way or another pointed toward various future terrorist crimes.
One such place, which is important for our understanding of how the European militant Islam has emerged, is in Munich, according to the German TV journalist and historian Stefan Meining.
He has written the book Eine Moschee in Deutschland.
Margareta Flygt has read it.
[The above was spoken by the introducer.]
On my last visit to Munich, I drank a cocktail at “Schumann’s” on the Odeon Platz. Here the members of the in-crowd meet and rub shoulders with one another. Few of them know that Islamic history was written here.
In 1960 seven men met at the restaurant which was then only a simple Wienerwald chicken barbecue. They founded the so called “Mosque Construction Commission”. It was then that the German and European Islamist network was born, according to the author Stefan Meining. Almost all Islamic terrorism in the West, he says, has some connection with the Munich mosque.
How did Munich become a center for Islamic terrorists? Well, says Stefan Meining, it is a story that begins as early as 1941 when Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Nationalist Muslims from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan, whose countries had been forcibly incorporated in Stalin’s Soviet Union, joined the Nazi Turkish Infantry Division and the SS. Originally they were not anti-Semites, or Hitler supporters; they just wanted to get their countries back. The Nazis made use of this.
After the war, high-ranking Nazis and SS men who had knowledge of the Eastern Bloc were recruited by the government of the German Federal Republic.
The former yet convinced Nazis Theodor Oberländer became “Minister for expelled people” and Gerhard von Mende head of the “Büro für heimatvertriebene Ausländer” (“Office of Expelled Foreigners”). None of them were prosecuted after the war, but were instead rewarded for their knowledge. Von Mende committed/used Muslim combatants in his espionage activities against the Soviet Union and they also worked for the U.S. Radio Free Europe in Munich.
The Muslim Soviet exiles in Munich were living a Western life; religion was not as important to them as their nationalism and hatred of the Soviets. Both von Mende and the mosque-building commission had approached radical key personnel in Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria, and Egypt. Mende sought help in his anti-communist activities, and the Commission attempted to get both support and money.
Since the Muslim Brotherhood was banned in Egypt, its members made their way to Europe. They were openly accepted in Europe, and with CIA help also in the USA. When the Islamic center was opened in Munich in 1973, with mosque, schools, dormitories, daycare and community centers, this radical group wanted to take over. The power struggle was between the previously appointed Nurredin Namangani, a gulag survivor and a former imam of an SS division, and the new Saudi Arabian and Egyptian Islamists under the charismatic Said Ramadan, son-in-law of Hassan al Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. [Said was also the father of the Swiss “philosopher” Tariq Ramadan. — BB]
That the young newcomers and skilled doctors, lawyers and engineers won against the older, often poorly educated Muslims from the Soviet Union, is not surprising. Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt supported the building of the mosque, but the final decisive contribution was made by none other than Libya’s Muammar Al-Ghaddafi.
No single German journalist and politician reflected on what was said or written at the center. No one realized the implications of what radical opinions could cause, and I simply believe that no one took these people seriously. Muslims did not count for very much; it was believed that they were Western puppets.
But everybody used everybody else. Islamists saw an opportunity to establish political Islam in Europe, old German anti-Semites breathed fresh air, and the CIA gave support to everything anti-communist. Slowly and persistently, the European Islamist network was built up without influence from the outside. Many of the now internationally-known Islamists began their careers in Munich.
One of those who were preparing the terrorist attacks of September 11 was Ghaleb Himmat, a former leader of the “Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland” (“Islamic Community of Germany”). Himmat was one of those who sat at the restaurant in 1960 and took part in the planning of building a mosque in Munich. Today he is a central figure of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is important to point out: most Muslims in Germany do not know anything about — and have nothing to do with — the history of the mosque in Munich. They also have been misled by radical Islamists.
Eine Moschee in Deutschland is not a speculative book, but it suggests how Islamic terrorist groups have been able to grow strong in Europe, and above all it is a settling of accounts with Germany’s irresponsibility in the postwar period. Nazis and anti-communists could affect postwar politics on a scale that has had devastating consequences. It is a bitter lesson of overconfidence in oneself. It is now, as they say in German, that we must eat the soup we have cooked.