Cologne mosque reopens after hoax bomb threat

COLOGNE, Germany

Police have given the all clear on Thursday at Germany’s largest mosque in the western city of Cologne, after it was evacuated due to a telephone bomb threat. 

Following a thorough search at Cologne Central Mosque complex with special teams and bomb-sniffing dogs, the police found no bomb and determined the threat was a hoax.

It was the second time in four months Turkish-Muslim umbrella group DITIB, which runs the mosque, has been threatened with a bomb attack. The mosque complex in Cologne also houses headquarters of DITIB. 

In June, a bomb threat, apparently emailed by a far-right organisation, had forced the evacuation of visitors and staff at the mosque complex. But later it turned out to be hoax.

Germany has witnessed growing Islamophobia in recent years triggered by the propaganda of far-right parties, and more than 100 mosques and religious institutions were attacked by by far-right extremists in 2018. 

Police recorded 813 hate crimes against Muslims last year, including insults, threatening letters and physical assaults. At least 54 Muslims were injured in the attacks.

Germany, a country of over 81 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin.
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