Saudi must stop financing fundamentalist mosques abroad: Merkel's deputy

Published: December 6, 2015
Sigmar Gabriel, German Minister for Economic Affairs, delivers a speech. PHOTO: REUTERS

Sigmar Gabriel, German Minister for Economic Affairs, delivers a speech. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN: German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel on Sunday said Saudi Arabia must stop financing fundamentalist mosques abroad which are accused of breeding extremism.

“From Saudi Arabia, Wahhabi mosques are financed throughout the world,” said Gabriel.

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“In Germany many extremists considered dangerous persons emerge from these communities,” he told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Gabriel, who is Chancellor Angela Merkel’s deputy in a left-right coalition, warned against alienating Saudi Arabia, a crucial player in the bid to end the Syrian war, with too much criticism.

“At the same time we must make it clear to the Saudis that the time of looking the other way is over,” said Gabriel, who is also economy minister.

Gabriel, head of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), urged decisive steps in Germany against radical mosques associated with Wahhabism.

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“This radical fundamentalism taking place in Salafist mosques is no less dangerous than right-wing extremism,” he said.

The head of the SPD parliamentary group, Thomas Oppermann, also urged steps against preaching that contradicts the basic freedoms guaranteed in the German constitution.

“We will prevent Saudi help in the building or financing of mosques in Germany where Wahhabi ideas are to be disseminated,” he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Wahhabism provided the “complete ideology of the Islamic State and contributes in other countries to a radicalisation of moderate Muslims,” he said, adding that “this is something we don’t need and don’t want in Germany”.

The SPD leaders’ comments were published days after Merkel’s government was embarrassed by the release of a damning report on Saudi Arabia by its own foreign intelligence service, the BND.

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The report accused Saudi Arabia of an increasingly “impulsive” foreign policy with the goal of becoming the “leaders of the Arab world”.

Merkel’s government Friday rejected the BND’s findings and called Riyadh, the world’s top oil exporter, a key partner in regional conflict resolution.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • cautious
    Dec 6, 2015 - 5:36PM

    “We will prevent Saudi help in the building or financing of mosques in Germany where Wahhabi ideas are to be disseminated,”
    About time – Something other countries are likely to consider.Recommend

  • vinsin
    Dec 6, 2015 - 7:37PM

    Wahhabism is not the problem, Ideology is and that cannot be destroyed so easily.Recommend

  • Truth Detector
    Dec 6, 2015 - 8:09PM

    Good, well said. Someone had to tell as it is. Saudi funding is the biggest issue here. Muslim leaders are too timid to talk about it. As a Muslim & as a Pakistani I fully endorse & welcome these views.Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Dec 6, 2015 - 8:12PM

    Pakistan should also follow Germany’s lead and ban Saudi influence. Recommend

  • Usman
    Dec 6, 2015 - 8:38PM

    Finally – the truth comes out!Recommend

  • roshan
    Dec 6, 2015 - 8:40PM

    Democratic nations should consider barring their domestic industries from exporting military
    vehicles, weapons, munitions, mass surveillance and internet censorship software
    to the kingdom.

    Leaders cannot continue to pretend that a monarchy which used military force and sided with
    torturers to suppress democracy in 2011 in Bahrain is a force for democratic
    conflict resolution in neighboring countries.Recommend

  • Clown
    Dec 6, 2015 - 11:04PM

    Not surprised. JI and ilks will now gear up for protesting in front of German Embassy. Recommend

  • Tahir Khan
    Dec 6, 2015 - 11:23PM

    Nawaz Sharif I know you have personal friends in the Royal Family but please do the same. It will clear a lot of troubles in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Fahim
    Dec 6, 2015 - 11:48PM

    He won’t be Deputy long. Petro dollars and well wishers of Zions will kick him out soonRecommend

  • Ali
    Dec 7, 2015 - 12:08AM

    Germany gets it.
    We don’t.Recommend

  • Tim
    Dec 7, 2015 - 12:42AM

    Wahhabism is an ideology, Einstein @vinsin: Recommend

  • Jagjit S. Arora
    Dec 7, 2015 - 12:44AM

    At last, one Western politician who has pulled out his head from the sand and is speaking the truth, albeit in somewhat dulcet tones. Its time a spade is called a spade! If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it is a duck!Recommend

  • Parvez
    Dec 7, 2015 - 1:54AM

    When Saudi Arabia spends a few billions on German industry….lets hope the Germans hold strong.Recommend

  • Srini
    Dec 7, 2015 - 6:08AM

    Finally someone has stated the obvious..Recommend

  • omar anis
    Dec 7, 2015 - 9:53AM

    couldnt agree more! so when is germany gonna start stepping on saudis to implement this?Recommend

  • hari
    Dec 7, 2015 - 9:54AM

    When dear TarekFatah tells the same we don’t hear to his wise voice! We always need the gora to tell us what to do!Recommend

  • Lodhi
    Dec 7, 2015 - 10:17AM


    Because Tarek Fatah has ZERO legitimacy; this is coming from the Vice Chancellor of Germany, who has direct intelligence from the German and other international agencies. Tarek Fatah’s probably reads the same stuff you and me read on google. Does that sufficiently answer your question ?Recommend

  • Dec 7, 2015 - 11:09AM

    Pakistan should ask the same! Recommend

  • SAM
    Dec 7, 2015 - 5:59PM

    Same is to do by Pakistan. Radical institutions financed by KSA must be banned.Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Dec 7, 2015 - 8:54PM

    Thanks Allah, now every one is going to recognize the anti human evil. Allah is the only planner, all the evil planning of “All Saud” is failed.Recommend

  • Dec 7, 2015 - 9:23PM

    these saudi arabs are pathetic people and crazy too….they will never stop funding these terrorist organisations and madrassas but when terrorism will reach near their country they can even bomb the entire neigbourhood and can kill woman and children…..they are stupid people….now after reading my comment some stupids will try to abuse me…..but before they abuse me …let me assure them that pakistan do not take money from saudis for free….if they give us….they also take something from us…..for e.g recently saudi’s purchased weapons from Pakistan for $1b….Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Dec 7, 2015 - 9:26PM

    Would love to see translation of this article appearing in Urdu newspapers. Anyone dares to print it in their paper?Recommend

  • lkhan
    Dec 7, 2015 - 9:42PM

    @Truth Detector: I second your views!Recommend

  • HZR
    Dec 7, 2015 - 10:08PM

    What petro dollars with oil likely to sink around $20 per barrel and Saudi going in the market to raise debt bonds!Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Dec 8, 2015 - 5:11AM

    @Ahsan: They will keep on funding till their oil wells dry. after that they will revive their old profession that is looting the poor Hajis Recommend

  • Terance Schmidt
    Dec 8, 2015 - 8:19AM

    @vinsin: In your view, what is the difference between Wahhabism and an ideology? As far as I can tell, Wahhabism IS the ideology.Recommend

  • F Khan
    Dec 8, 2015 - 9:00AM

    May God grant our politicians the “sense” and the “sensibility” to recognize the truth now and may they, please, please, do what is right for the country. Ameen!!Recommend

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