Ditib’s management said it had no prior knowledge of the Taliban official’s planned appearance
Germany has expressed strong condemnation over the appearance of Abdul Bari Omar, a Taliban official associated with the health authority in Afghanistan, at a mosque in Cologne.
The event took place during a conference organised by an Afghan association in the city. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser stated that “the appearance of a representative of the Taliban in Cologne is completely unacceptable and must be strongly condemned.”
She emphasised the need for Ditib, the Turkish-Islamic association managing the mosque, to explain the use of the venue for such an event.
Ditib’s management said it had no prior knowledge of the Taliban official’s planned appearance.
“Contrary to the original contract, it was transformed into a political event and a speaker who was not known to us had been invited,” it said.
Ditib rejected “any proximity — even spiritual — to the Taliban”.
The German foreign ministry disclosed that the Taliban official did not possess a visa to enter Germany, indicating that he utilised a Schengen visa issued by a neighbouring country.
Despite the absence of prior approval, Abdul Bari Omar managed to attend the event, reportedly arriving from the Netherlands after participating in a World Health Organization conference in early November.
Since the Taliban’s resurgence in August 2021, Western nations have frozen significant amounts of aid and assets, impacting Afghanistan’s aid-dependent economy.
Ditib, recognised as one of the largest Islamic organisations in Germany, now faces scrutiny and demands for clarity regarding the circumstances surrounding the controversial appearance of the Taliban official at the Cologne mosque.