German intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maassen has revealed that security services in the country are battling a record number of Islamist radicals that are part of “small conspiratorial circles, primarily on the internet.”
Who would have guessed that Germany’s open borders would result in security concerns?
RT reports that on Sunday, Maassen, the president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), said the number of Islamist sympathizers is at “an all-time high,” with the number of identified sympathizers rising from 9,700 to 10,800 in the past year.
Islamist sympathizers are now congregating in “small conspiratorial circles, primarily on the internet,” rather than Mosques, which Maassen says is a “particular challenge” for Germany’s security services. The president of the BfV also stated that Islamist factions have splintered into smaller groups, which makes them difficult to monitor.
Maassen said Salafist organizations coming from Chechnya and the North Caucasus are a particular threat, due to their belief that Western democracy is incompatible with the rule of Allah. Salafist organizations such as Hizb ut-Tahrir seek to enforce Sharia law, a goal which is the base for terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
Although the Islamic State’s uprising in Syria and Iraq has been dismantled, the Islamic fighters in those regions still pose a threat as it is possible they will try even harder to infiltrate into Europe.
RT reports that since 2014, 950 Germans left Europe to go and fight for the Islamic State as it attempted to establish its caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Around a third of those German fighters have returned home, although according to Maassen, most of those that returned were women and children.
“We haven’t seen any significant flows of male fighters returning home,” Maassen said while speaking to the Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) earlier in the month. “We assume that Westerners still fighting with IS to this day intend to stay there until the very end, and will only then seek to settle in Europe once again.”
This doesn’t mean that the returnees do not pose a significant threat.
“There are children who have been brainwashed and highly radicalized at ‘schools’ in IS-held areas. It’s a problem for us because many of these kids and teenagers can sometimes be dangerous,” Maassen continued, adding that women who returned from Islamic State strongholds “had become so radicalized and identify so deeply with IS-ideology that, by all accounts, they must also be identified as jihadis… we have to keep them in our sights.”
“They [Islamic Terrorists] are saying: ‘You don’t have to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight. You can carry out jihad at home, as well,’” he added. “Therefore, many of those who had already packed their suitcases to travel to these jihadi territories decided to stay at home instead.”
The subject of radicalized wives and children is a controversial one. Some see them as victims, while others believe they should be punished.
“These are people who are dangerous extremist terrorists. All of our countries should support Syria and Iraq in ensuring that these people are properly prosecuted and brought to justice,” a political commentator for the New York Observer, Andre Walker, told RT in September.
However, British political commentator Mo Ansar believes punishing the wives and children of the Islamic State will only encourage more radical beliefs.
“Certainly the wives and children are innocent victims in this play,” he said. The answer is not disenfranchising them and making them stateless. All that is going to do is increase the number of people who are going to be turning to terror as a way of retribution towards the West.”
PUT MILO ON TV WHERE HE BELONGS
CAN YOU THINK OF A BETTER WAY TO SPEND YOUR MONEY?
MILO’S RAISING MONEY FOR A NEW WEEKLY LATE-NIGHT CHAT SHOW. HELP US MAKE IT A REALITY!