Germany / 24-05-2012
German intelligence chief warns Toulouse-style attack against Jewish targets ‘conceivable’
Berlin - German intelligence Chief Heinz Fromm has claimed “the danger for Germany has not decreased” as a spate of antisemitic incidents are recorded in the country.
Speaking to German daily newspaper Bild on Tuesday, in his capacity as head of Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Fromm invoked increasing tension between extremist Salafist Muslims and police across German cities to warn of a possible attack.
Citing the Toulouse school shootings in March, when al Qaeda-inspired Islamist gunman Mohammed Merah killed seven people in the French town, Fromm highlighted that Merah is known to have made contact with Salafist factions prior to the attack.
The radical Salafist movement has risen to prominence since its launch in April 2011, following the popular protests that forced former Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee Tunisia after 23 years in power, and which constituted the start of the Arab Spring across the Muslim world.
Fromm spoke of the dangerous rise of Salafists in Germany, in particular highlighting as “inducement for attacks” a recent video made by Berlin-based Salafist and former rapper Denis C, which calls for “holy war” and praises Merah and al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden.
“With their intensive propaganda over the internet, in the streets, in mosques and also at so-called Islam seminars, Salafist preachers are reaching especially young people who are more sensitive to this ideology”, he declared, adding that “almost all Islamist terrorists from Germany have been radicalised in this way”.
Earlier this month, Salafists attacked police present at a regional election rally, for protecting far –right anti-Islam protestors, injuring 29 officers, two of them seriously. The German government announced it was considering instituting a legal ban on Salafists following the attacks, which saw Salafist take umbrage at protetors brandishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
Similar scenes recently occurred in Central Tunisia, where a Salafist assembly descended into anarchy when attendees defied organisers’ instructions to remain “calm” and not to chant slogans, instead reciting “We are all the children of Osama (bin Laden) and “Jews, Jews, the army of Mohammed is back”.
In a wave that has spread to Europe, the Arab Spring led to the rise of extremist Islamist groups, which advocate the adoption of the fundamentalist Sharia law.
Salafists in Germany are thought to number approximately 4,000 and have their roots in Saudi Arabia. Despite dominating the headlines in recent times, they represent only a small proportion of Germany’s largely peaceful four million-strong Muslim population.