Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel urged Saudi Arabia on Sunday to stop supporting religious radicals amid growing concern among some lawmakers in Berlin about the funding of militant mosques by the world’s biggest oil exporter.
The unusual criticism of the Gulf state follows a report by Germany’s foreign intelligence agency that suggested that Saudi foreign policy was becoming more “impulsive.”
The German government rebuked the BND agency for making such suggestions about Saudi Arabia, an important business partner that is involved in international talks to find a political solution to the Syria crisis.
“We need Saudi Arabia to solve the regional conflicts,” Sigmar Gabriel, head of the Social Democrats (SPD) who share power with conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel, told the mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag.
“But we must at the same time make clear that the time to look away is past. Wahhabi mosques are financed all over the world by Saudi Arabia. In Germany, many dangerous Islamists come from these communities,” he said.
Saudi Arabia follows the ultra-conservative Wahhabi form of Islam and is seen by some outsiders as a cause of the international jihadist threat.
Read more: News Week