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February 13, 2022 7:37 pm

Former German Muslim Leader Sentenced for Inciting Hatred, Antisemitism on Social Media

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avatar by Sharon Wrobel

The DITIB (Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs) building opposite the Cologne Central Mosque before it’s official inauguration in Cologne, Germany, September 29, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

The former head of an influential Turkish Muslim association in Germany was convicted of inciting hatred and condoning crimes in antisemitic social media postings he made.

Mustafa Keskin, was given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, according to the verdict by the district court of the university city of Gottingen. Keskin — who resigned last March as chairman of the Gottingen branch of DITIB, a Turkish religious group, after his posts on various social media platforms were exposed — was also ordered to pay a fine of  1,200 euros in installments of 75 euros to a charitable organization.

He was charged over at least five posts online between 2015 and 2019 that contained insults against Jews and Armenians and conspiracy myths.

Keskin, who was not present at the court for his verdict, can appeal the decision over the next two weeks, but his lawyer indicated that the defendant would likely accept the penalty order, Germany’s newspaper Die Zeit reported, citing a court spokesperson.

One post depicted Pope Francis and the Turkish right-wing extremist Mehmet Ali Ağca, who seriously injured Pope John Paul II in an assassination attempt in 1981. Since Pope Francis recognizes the Armenian genocide as a historical reality, the text of Keskin’s post read, he should not be surprised if he is shot in the head.

Last year, an investigation by Die Falken (The Falcons), a socialist youth organization, led to the exposure of Keskin’s postings on various social media platforms.

Keskin’s Facebook page, meanwhile, had featured “antisemitic and anti-Israel posts and images since 2013,” the youth group reported. “In one personal post, for example, Israeli soldiers are referred to as ‘Jewish dogs,’ while other images and posts suggest that Jews and Israelis would specifically kill children.”

An abbreviation for “Diyanet İşleri Türk İslam Birliği” (Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion), the Cologne-based DITIB is the largest Islamic umbrella organization in Germany, comprising over 900 mosques.

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