Outrage in Germany over Taliban officer’s speech in Cologne mosque

Ditib’s management said it had no prior knowledge of the planned presence of a Taliban official

Abdul Bari Omar.  - Tolo News
Abdul Bari Omar. – Tolo News

Germany has strongly condemned the presence of Abdul Bari Omar, a Taliban official attached to the health authority in Afghanistan, at a mosque in Cologne.

The event took place during a conference organized by an Afghan association in the city. Interior Minister Nancy Feser said that “the presence of a Taliban representative in Cologne is completely unacceptable and must be strongly condemned.”

He stressed the need for Ditib, the Turkish-Islamic association that manages 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 officer’s planned presence.

It said, “Contrary to the original contract, it was turned into a political event and a speaker we did not know was invited.”

Ditib “rejected any closeness – even spiritual – with the Taliban”.

The German Foreign Ministry revealed that the Taliban official did not have a visa to enter Germany, indicating that he had used a Schengen visa issued by the neighboring country.

Despite lacking prior permission, Abdul Bari Omar managed to attend the event, having reportedly come from the Netherlands after attending a World Health Organization conference in early November.

Since the resurgence of the Taliban in August 2021, Western countries have withheld significant amounts of aid and assets, impacting Afghanistan’s aid-dependent economy.

Ditib, known as one of the largest Islamic organizations in Germany, is now facing scrutiny and demands for clarity regarding the circumstances surrounding the controversial appearance of a Taliban official at a Cologne mosque.

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