Jail made me rethink ties to Islamist scene, Berlin imam tells court

An imam accused of promoting the Islamic State extremist militia went on trial in Berlin on Thursday, saying in opening statements that jail time had led him to rethink his ties to the Salafist scene in the German capital.

The 30-year-old, named only as Gadzhimurad K in keeping with German privacy laws, is being tried on several charges including an appearance in a video circulated online in 2014 that aimed to recruit fighters for the terrorist group.

The Russian-born imam admitted in opening remarks Thursday to giving an interview in which he justified the killings of two people by Islamic State militants.

He added that his time in jail had caused him to rethink his involvement in the Salafist scene in Berlin. Salafism is an ultra-conservative reform movement within Sunni Islam.

"The boundless cruelties [of Islamic State] are unjustifiable," he said, according to a statement his lawyer read before the court.

The defendant, who has been in custody since October, is also accused of having close ties to two members of an Islamic group in the Berlin district of Wedding. The two men have been on trial since January on charges of supporting a terrorist group.

Last update: Thu, 07/04/2016 - 13:50
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