German gang on trial for ‘robbing churches & schools to fund ISIS’

German gang on trial for ‘robbing churches & schools to fund ISIS’
Eight young men have appeared in court in the German city of Cologne after they allegedly stole from churches and schools to fund Islamic State. The group is believed to have plundered €19,000 worth of goods, as well as causing serious property damage.

Security was tight around the Cologne Regional Court as the eight men went on trial. The raids are believed to have taken place between 2011 and 2014, with the group stealing collection boxes, crosses and other religious items, worth an estimated €10,000 (US$11,400).

They also ransacked schools, taking laptop computers, money and a cash card, which they used to help fund Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), the chief prosecutor in the case, Nadja Gudermann said, as cited by the Local.

The German tabloid Bild also claimed that the IS sympathizers had even targeted an Afroshop, with the total amount stolen by the group reaching around €19,000.

It is unknown how much money was transferred to IS militants in Syria, while the gang’s leader is believed to be Moroccan, who had previously traveled to the Middle East to under-go training at a jihadist training camp.

According to prosecutors, the 26 year-old had also appeared in a video posted on YouTube, where he called for Muslims to fight for IS.

Almost exactly a year ago, on October 26, mass protests took place in Cologne against Islamist extremism.

“The problem of Islamism, the problem of violence, also a problem that Germany is a country which supports violent Islamism, for example, in Syria by promoting, funding and supporting the so-called rebel factions which are nothing else [but] violent Islamist extremists, shows that more and more people are not confident with the politics,” journalist Manuel Ochenreiter told RT at the time.