BERLIN, (AP) – A Hamburg mosque once frequented by some of the Sept. 11 attackers was shut down Monday because German authorities believe the prayer house was again being used as a meeting point for Islamic radicals.
The Taiba mosque was closed and the cultural association that runs it was banned, Hamburg officials said in a statement.
“We have closed the mosque because it was a recruiting and meeting point for Islamic radicals who wanted to participate in so-called jihad or holy war,” said Frank Reschreiter, a spokesman for Hamburg’s state interior ministry.
He said that 20 police officers were searching the building and had confiscated material, including several computers. He was not aware of any arrests.
Authorities have said the prayer house, formerly known as the al-Quds mosque, years ago was a meeting and recruiting point for some of the Sept. 11 attackers before they moved to the United States.
Reschreiter said it was the first time the mosque had been closed, and that it had been under observation by local intelligence officers for “quite a long time.”
A 2009 report by the Hamburg branch of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency also said the mosque had again become the “center of attraction for the jihad scene” in the northern port city.
It said some people who belonged to the mosque’s cultural association and prayed there had traveled to a radical training camp in Uzbekistan.
A group of 11 militants that traveled to military training camps in Uzbekistan in March 2009 was formed at Taiba mosque, the report said.
Most of the group’s members were either German converts, of Middle Eastern origin or from the Caucasus region.
“A very important factor for the radicalization of the group members was certainly their joint visits to the mosque,” the intelligence report stated.
It appears that one man from the group joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a terrorist organization in Central Asia, the report said.