German intelligence report highlights Salafist growth | News | DW | 11.06.2013
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News

German intelligence report highlights Salafist growth

Germany's domestic intelligency agency has presented its annual report, saying right-wing and Islamist radicals have become increasingly violent. Opposition parties have accused the interior ministers of inaction.

Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution highlighted an increased readiness by extremists to resort to violence in its annual report presented in Berlin on Tuesday.

Almost every second extremist was prone to violence, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said.

The head of the agency, Hans-Georg Maassen (pictured left beside Friedrich), said Germany remained a potential target for Islamist terrorists. Attacks by lone radical right-wingers were also possible, he added.

The parliamentary floor leader of the opposition Social Democrats, Thomas Oppermann, accused Friedrich of only describing trends.

"Interior minister Friedrich should ask himself whether he is doing enough to support prevention and exit programs [for people wanting out]," said Oppermann.

Left party spokeswoman Ulla Jelpke said the report failed to mention that the agency had boosted its use of informers within the militant neo-Nazi scene inside Germany.

Anti-foreigner attacks on rise

The report by the Cologne-based agency, which reviews trends in 2012, describes 22,150 persons in Germany as being extreme right-wingers and says 802 crimes had far-right contexts, with 393 being anti-foreigner. By comparison 350 were recorded in 2011.

That is when 10 serial murders, mostly of residents of Turkish origin between 2000 and 2007, were belatedly attributed to a neo-Nazi terror cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU). Five suspected accomplices are currently on trial in Munich.

Alarmed by Islamist scene

The report says the Islamist scene in Germany grew by several thousand to 42,000 supporters in 2012, with 4,500 adherents described as radical Salafists, who want a strict form of Islam and question Western modernism.

Maassen said his agency had classified1,000 of them as dangerous and of these 130 were especially dangerous. Watches on them were kept around the clock, he said.

Maassen said Salafism was a "transit station" for numerous potential terrorists. He said that more than 60 persons with German citizenship, who received training in places like Syria before returning to Germany as potential lone Jihadists, were of particular concern.

The report says crimes attributed to radical leftists declined to just under 6,200, last year, some 1,500 fewer incidents than in 2011.

The report also devotes a chapter to Scientology. It has around 4,000 adherents in Germany and is not recognized as a religious community, because, according to the agency, it favors totalitarian structures and rejects democratic legal principles.

ipj/pfd (dpa, epd, kna, AFP)