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Islamic Center of Hamburg: Spiders’ Pole

The network that the Islamic Center of Hamburg, as an affiliate of the Islamic Republic, has woven around itself over the past four decades, though complex, is very similar to the famous Qur'anic image: loose and fragile, like a "spider's web."

He has introduced himself on the website of the Islamic Center of Hamburg in German as “Professor Dr. Mohammad Mofatteh”. He is the seventh of eight children and the fourth of four sons of Mohammad Mofatteh, who was killed by the Forqan group in 1979, according to the regime narrative. The names of all four of his sons are Mohammad like himself: Mohammad Mehdi, Mohammad Sadegh, Mohammad Reza and Mohammad Hadi.

Spider Family

His father had a strong desire to take advantage of academic titles and degrees and made many efforts to match the degrees of seminary education (Howzah) with university, and for this reason, the Islamic Republic has named December 18 (Azar 27 in Persian calendar), the day of his death in as “the day of unity between seminary and university” or “Unity Day between clergy and student.” Mohammad Hadi himself is the best example of this type of exploitation of university degrees. He is neither a doctor nor a professor. He entered the technical university with nepotism and finished his bachelor’s degree using the same rent. The rest of his education was seminary education – he has a doctorate in Quran and Hadith from “Osul al-Din Qom” school, a center that was established in 1996 by Khamenei’s order and Mohammad Hadi was one of the first registrants of this center. 3 years after its establishment, he received the “Quran and Hadith” degree – and has also earned the title of professor due to teaching “Fiqh” in the seminary and educational centers under the helm of the seminary. Not only him, but all his family members are deep in nepotism and economic rents. His brother Mehdi is the representative of the fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and current term of the Eleventh “Revolutionary” Assembly (“parliament”) – a man for all periods. No one has been able to reap the benefits of “sponsored by daddy” as much as he has with this continuity and stability. Mehdi basically has nothing to do with politics. In the parliament, he is only engaged in brokerage and dealings, and for this reason, he has worked in different periods of the parliament in the most suitable place for a dealer: the Planning and Budget Commission. Mr. “Professor” Mofatteh says that his grandfather lost the power of his speech at the end of his life, but his tongue had no problem during the prayer and recited everything “until the Allah Akbar at the end of the prayer clearly” like a nightingale. After the prayer, however, his tongue was locked again – so deserving of rent. His other brother, Mohammad Sadegh, has been the Deputy Minister of Commerce for many years and is currently the “Deputy Minister” in the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade. Their Mohammad Reza also has been serving at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is currently the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic to New Zealand. Himself, has been the head of the Islamic Center of Hamburg since September 2018, appointed by Khamenei. “We, brothers and sisters, after the martyrdom of my father, had an unwritten principle in these 30 years, because we had learned from our father not to get caught up in the commotion and excitement that is created in society, and to do only our Sharia duty.” This is the best description of the parasitic life of the Mofatteh family in the holy system quoting Mohammad Hadi in his own words. In his German biography, which is posted on the website of the Islamic Center of Hamburg, Mohammad Hadi has left no trace of his professional record in the regime. The reader gets the impression that Hadi is a mere scientist who has only been researching about religious issues all his life. In the biographies that Mofatteh left in Persian on his personal blog and in interviews with the state media, he did not ignore the bold expression of his good services in the most notorious government apparatuses. He has held various positions in Khamenei’s radio and television, in the Expediency Council and in the judiciary for many years. This difference between appearance and nature, between external and internal, between image and function, can be named as one of the most prominent features of the Islamic Center of Hamburg; A center that looks like a mosque and a place of worship; Its dome, minaret and facade have blue tiles, but in fact it is an association that was renamed from the “Grand Mosque” to the “Islamic Center of Hamburg” by Beheshti in 1965 and changed its nature to an “Association” in the official records of the city of Hamburg.

Spider Web

About two decades ago, the security agency “Protection of the German Constitution” had defined the Islamic Center of Hamburg:

“Extended arm of the Tehran revolutionary leadership consistently aims to spread Islamist ideas based on the local model in Germany and to intensify its influence on the Shiite community, among other things by founding new Islamic centers and supporting corresponding projects as well as through various forms of cooperation with other groups and institutions in Germany and other European countries. Public events such as the annual “Open Mosque Day” or seminars and lectures, to which Western scientists are also invited, are intended to convey a benevolent Islam that is based on cooperation. As an institution of the Iranian government, the IZH is still committed to the revolutionary goals of KHOMEINI, which are aimed at exporting the Islamic revolution with the aim of Islamizing the entire world.”

However, when we go to the website of the center, which describes its “financial resources”, we read that “100% of the financial resources of the Islamic Center of Hamburg are provided through charities and public donations and it does not receive any money from government institutions or centers.” This sentence is followed by theoretical articles similar to those mentioned in the explanation of the issues of Shiite scholars on the subject of “khums and zakat”.
One of the records that has been self-censored in the German biography of “Professor” Mofatteh is teaching in the “Mustafa Al-Alamiyah Society” and cooperating with this center, which is thirsty for national budget and wealth. This institution also introduces itself to the world as a “scientific center with a theological identity”. The Mustafa Society, however, has a long history of “money laundering and financing terrorist activities” outside of Iran; Activities that led to the US Treasury Department impose sanctions on the institution last year. The so-called university, of which Hadi Mofatteh is one of the “professors”, is on the US sanctions list for its widespread support for recruiting for the IRGC Quds Force, which is responsible for the Revolutionary Guards’ military and terrorist activities abroad. In Iran’s 2021 budget, this institution swallows 465 billion Tomans alone. The subdivisions and small and large branches of this institution also eat up separately from the budget. One of these branches is the “World Assembly of the Ahl al-Bayt,” which is currently chaired by Reza Ramezani, the former head of the Islamic Center of Hamburg and a member of the Assembly of Experts. The World Assembly of the Ahl al-Bayt receives a budget of 75 billion Tomans from the government in 2021, a 50% increase from last year, and has also signed a “cooperation document” with the “Al-Mustafa Society”. Reza Ramezani, whose activity at the Islamic Center of Hamburg has seemingly ended after the arrival of Mohammad Hadi Mofatteh, his name appears elsewhere in Hamburg: in the “Council of Islamic Assemblies in Hamburg”; in short: “SCHURA
The Islamic Center of Hamburg is under the auspices of this “council”, of which Ramezani, the former head of the Islamic Center, is a member of its board of trustees and has had a cooperation agreement with the state of Hamburg since 2012.

Dialogue or Monologue?

One of the words that has been used increasingly in depicting the deceptive identity of the Islamic Center of Hamburg is the key word “dialogue.” The Islamic Center of Hamburg speaks of a “culture of dialogue between religions and nations” and promotes the “values ​​of the Islamic Revolution” in Germany without any restrictions, and whenever it succeeds in converting a German to Islam, it blows the trumpet. The only possible and real dialogue in the Islamic Republic between Christian converts or any other religion with the government is a rope-and-neck dialogue, a dialogue between prison bars and apostasy.
Dialogue is not one-sided.

If you search for “Goethe Institute in Tehran” in cyberspace, you will find a website whose logo is different from the Goethe Institute logo:

The reason for this difference is that the Goethe Institute, as a liaison between the culture, history, art and values ​​of German society, is not allowed to operate in Iran. Only language teaching department of this institution is licensed to operate under the strict supervision and restrictions of the security institutions of the Islamic Republic. Even that part of the institution has been shut down many times in recent years. The Goethe Institute has not existed in Iran for more than 30 years.
Dialogue is not possible either.

It is enough to take a look at the website of this institute in neighboring Turkey to find out not only the difference between the logo but also the scope of its cultural and artistic activities with what the Islamic Republic allows its existence in Iran:

The question that comes to mind is: What culture does the Goethe-Institut promote that the Islamic Republic does not tolerate? Fundamental democratic values, the great lesson of the history of the Third Reich and the Holocaust, music, literature, highlanders and German philosophers,… none of these are allowed to be promoted in Iran occupied by the Islamic regime. The Islamic Republic and its institutions not only do not allow any kind of dialogue, but also impose their own Islamic / revolutionary discourse on any culture that intends to enter the country:

“I wore a headscarf for a dialogue” (Claudia Benedikta Roth, Vice President of the Bundestag, 2015, in an interview with Radio Zamaneh)

Translation of this article by Sahar.

Cover: 𝕾𝖍𝖆𝖉𝖔𝖜𝕺𝖋𝕿𝖍𝖊𝕷𝖎𝖔𝖓

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