German court convicts radical imam of membership in IS

BERLIN (AP) — A former imam at a radical mosque in Germany was convicted Wednesday of being a member of the Islamic State group and sentenced to 10 1/2 years in prison.

The state court in Celle in northern Germany convicted Ahmad Abdulaziz Abdullah A., who goes by the alias Abu Walaa, of membership in a foreign terrorist organization as well as terror financing and being an accessory to preparing a serious act of violence, a court statement said.

The court found that Abu Walaa and his network radicalized young people in northern and western Germany and sent them to areas controlled by IS, the dpa news agency reported.

Three co-defendants were given prison sentences ranging from four years and two weeks to eight years for supporting IS, among other offenses.

The verdict against Abu Walaa, a 37-year-old Iraqi citizen, ended a trial that began in September 2017.

Abu Walaa was the imam at a prominent radical mosque in the northern city of Hildesheim and also organized “Islam seminars” at mosques elsewhere in Germany.

German authorities banned the organization that ran the mosque in March 2017.

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