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German police reports increase in violent Islamists

May 22, 2016

The German investigative police have reported a significant increase in Islamist threats. The agency tracked almost 500 threats in the past year.

Deutschland Polizeirazzia in Berlin Seituna Kulturzentrum
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Sohn

Germany's investigative police agency reported that the number of dangerous Islamists in Germany has risen sharply over the past year. In a report published in the Sunday edition of the German daily newspaper "Die Welt" the German Criminal Police Office (BKA) said it had tracked 497 instances of "threats" or individuals with extremist views who could be suspected of carrying out terrorist attacks. The agency added that an additional 339 Islamists were also being tracked as "relevant persons," or individuals who may assist and sympathize with terrorist causes.

The report said that the development marked a significant increase from numbers dating back to January 2015, when only 270 potentially violent Islamist individuals were registered in Germany. A number of raids conducted across Germany in the past year contributed to yielding the results.

Austria's domestic intelligence agency also reported several days earlier that the number of suspected Islamists in the country had risen, citing increased activity within the "Muslim Brotherhood" terrorist group. The "Kleine Zeitung" daily newspaper examined a particular increase in the state of Styria.

Increased threat ahead of Euros 16

"Die Welt" added that the rise in numbers could pose a risk to the UEFA European Championship (Euros 16) due to be held in France next month, concretely referring to the self-styled "Islamic State" (IS) terror organization. It said that the soccer event could be considered a perfect opportunity for Islamists to cause "mass terror."

The editor-in-chief of the French satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo," Gerard Biard, said that too much tolerance was partly to blame for the rise in Islamism across Europe, accusing the political left of being complicit. He said it was "scandalous" that leftwing movements were more interested in defending "Muslims wearing the Burka than in equal pay."

"Islamic propaganda has managed to convince us that criticizing Islamism equates to criticizing Islam itself and therefore qualifies as racism," Biard wrote in a speech cited in Berlin.

Eleven people, the majority of whom were Charlie Hebdo employees, were killed in January 2015 during an attack on the satirical publication after it had printed cartoons deemed to offend Mohammed, the founder of Islam.

ss/rc (dpa, AFP, KNA)