Germany: Rise of the Salafists

Germany: Rise of the Salafists

  • “Salafists see themselves as defenders of an original, unadulterated Islam…. As a consequence, Salafists want to establish a ‘theocracy’ according to their interpretation of the rules of sharia, one in which the liberal democratic order no longer applies.” — Annual Report of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).
  • “Under the guise of humanitarian aid, Islamists succeed in radicalizing migrants. In the past, Salafists in particular tried to reach out to migrants. They visited refugee shelters for this purpose and offered assistance. The target group was not only adult migrants, but also unaccompanied adolescents, who, due to their situation and age, are particularly susceptible to Salafist missionary activities.” — Annual Report of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).
  • The BfV report makes a direct link between the increase in anti-Semitism in Germany and the rise of Islamist movements in the country: “The ‘enemy image of Judaism’ therefore forms a central pillar in the propaganda of all Islamist groups…. This poses a significant challenge to the peaceful and tolerant coexistence in Germany.”

    The number of Salafists in Germany has doubled over the last five years and now exceeds 10,000 for the first time, according to Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency. BfV estimates that Germany is home to more than 25,000 Islamists, nearly 2,000 of whom pose an immediate threat of attack.

    The new figures are included the latest annual report of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV), and presented by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and BfV President Hans-Georg Maaßen in Berlin on July 24.

    The report, considered the most important indicator of internal security in Germany, draws a bleak picture. The BfV estimates that the number of Islamists in Germany increased to at least 25,810 by the end of 2017, up from 24,425 in 2016.

    Strangely, the report does not provide any estimates for the number of followers of the Islamic State or al-Qaeda living in Germany. As a result, the actual number of Islamists in Germany is undoubtedly higher than 25,810.

    According to the report, Salafists comprise the single largest Islamist group in Germany. The number of Salafists in Germany jumped to 10,800 in 2017, up from 9,700 in 2016; 8,350 in 2015; 7,000 in 2014; 5,500 in 2013 and 4,500 in 2012.

    The BfV report states:

    “Salafists see themselves as defenders of an original, unadulterated Islam. They model their religious practice and lifestyle exclusively on the principles of the Koran, the Prophet Mohammed and the first three Muslim generations, the so-called righteous ancestors (Al-Salaf al-Salihin Arabic). As a consequence, Salafists want to establish a ‘theocracy’ according to their interpretation of the rules of sharia, one in which the liberal democratic order no longer applies.

    “Political and jihadi Salafists share the same basic ideology. They differ primarily in the means by which they wish to achieve their objective, the ‘Salafist theocracy.’ Political Salafists spread their Islamist ideology through intensive propaganda activities — which they describe as ‘missionary work’ (Dawa) — to transform society, through a long-term process, according to Salafist norms.

    “Many political Salafists position themselves as being against terrorism. They emphasize the peaceful nature of Islam and reject open calls for violence. Nevertheless, it should be noted that political Salafism has an ambivalent relationship to violence because in principle it does not exclude religiously inspired violence as a means to achieve its goals.

    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12773/germany-salafists

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