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UAE royal's remarks on control of mosques condemned

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan told dpa news agency Germany must exert more control over mosques.

The Arab Organisation

A human rights group has condemned comments by a top United Arab Emirates (UAE) government official who urged Germany to exert greater control over its mosques in order to prevent "terrorist" attacks.

"One cannot simply open a mosque and invite everyone to attend and to preach," Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE's minister of state for tolerance, told German news agency DPA in an interview on Tuesday.

Sheikh Nahyan said that Germany, like France, Britain and Belgium, was not exerting enough control over local mosques, according to DPA.

In response, the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) flatly rejected the minister's comments, saying he has engaged in "incitement against Muslims in Europe".

"If a person who frequents a specific mosque carries out a criminal act, it does not mean that all those who worship at this mosque support this act or that the mosque incites to committing such crimes," AOHR UK said in a statement.

It added that mosques in Europe are subject to strict regulations and their officials "perform their mission in accordance with the moderate teachings of Islam".

In the interview, Sheikh Nahyan said the UAE has "always offered to train people", but no European country has responded to that offer so far.

Meanwhile, AOHR UK warned European countries against taking up Sheikh Nahyan's offer, "so as not to turn mosques in Europe into security surveillance centres for the benefit of the UAE".

The UAE government strictly controls the functioning of mosques within its own country.

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