The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) launched an aid campaign for mosques in Germany with the call “Now It’s Time to Support Our Mosques.” The campaign focuses on mosques in the country under construction with a heavy debt burden and in need of help, especially during the coronavirus outbreak.
According to Anadolu Agency (AA), the campaign started in Cologne, where the DİTİB’s headquarters is located. The campaign intends to provide financial aid to the mosques since their revenue stream has dried up as collective prayers have been interrupted as part of the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Speaking on the campaign, the head of the DİTİB, Kazım Türkmen, said there are approximately 50 mosques in Germany still under construction. He added that there are also about 100-150 mosques carrying significant debt.
Underlining that so far the mosques have managed to survive financially thanks to several events conducted within the mosques, Türkmen said due to the cancelation of these events, some mosques have been struggling.
“Places of worship survive under the patronage and responsibility of believers around the world. Similarly, our mosques depend on the existence of sincere, compassionate and devoted efforts of our fellow members,” he emphasized.
Those interested in contributing to the campaign can send their donations via Paypal to [email protected] or through bank transfer to the IBAN number DE95 3704 0044 0121 5177 19, which has been established under the name of Turkisch-Islamische Union.
Cologne-based DİTİB is one of the biggest Islamic organizations in Germany. It was founded in 1984 as a branch of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB), Turkey’s top religious body.
The DİTİB currently runs 857 mosques in Germany with nearly 1,100 imams. Most of these imams are appointed from Turkey by the DİB and eventually return to Turkey after serving for four years in Germany. There are currently 110 imams who were trained in Germany, but the program aims to increase this number.
For many years, the DİTİB participated in many government-supported counter-extremism and integration projects. In September 2018, the German domestic intelligence agency, BfV, reportedly decided to scrutinize the activities of the DİTİB and question whether to put the organization under official surveillance or not.