Preventing or even minimizing prison radicalization is always a challenge. It’s more difficult, however, when we continually fail to vet the chaplains who minister to inmates.
Germany appears to have learned this lesson recently. Authorities there recently discovered that over 85 percent of their Muslim prison chaplains were actually agents of the Turkish government, the Gatestone Institute reports. Those clerics had to be terminated after the Turkish government refused to have them go through security checks, which are required by German law for all prison chaplains. And while the number of foreign-born inmates in German prisons has spiked to nearly 50 percent, the vast majority of those are from Poland, Tunisia, the Czech Republic, and Georgia, not Turkey.
One wonders why the need for the 97 Turkish prison chaplains who were let go.
Germany now has 25 Muslim chaplains. This reduction comes in the light of the increased number of Muslim inmates in their system and the fears of the increased threat of radicalization.
The Muslim chaplains are represented by the Turkish Islamic Union, or DİTİB, which has been under investigation by Germany’s Domestic Intelligence agency after it found a connection between Turkish military action in Syria and a rise in persecution of Turkish dissidents. It was also discovered that some DİTİB chaplains were providing names of dissidents to their embassy in Germany.