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Monday, February 2, 2015

12,000 new foriegn fighter in past 4 months. A huge surge on militant Daeshbags


It's one of the biggest international mobilizations of fighters in decades. According to the latest figures from the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King's College London, around 12,000 Muslim foreigners from 74 different countries are fighting in Syria. More than a fifth of the - mostly Arab - fighters live in Western states. Four hundred are from Germany.
The road to jihad has never been shorter. Today, in Germany, there is an energetic scene of young, radical Muslims, and it's growing steadily. These 5,000 to 10,000 Salafists constitute only a tiny fraction of the 4 million Muslims in Germany, but they are extremely active. They hand out free copies of the Koran in town centers, invite people to events, start groups in mosques, and attract nationwide attention with their actions. In many towns and cities, Salafists use the same methods as street social workers to recruit new followers, especially among young people with no prospects.
Clear answers, clear structures
Every path to radicalization is different, but there is a recurring pattern, according to Florian Endres of Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). "A search for meaning or a life crisis often make fertile ground for radical Islamist ideologies," said Endres, the head of BAMF's advice center on radicalization.
Salafisten in Deutschland Islam Koran Verteilung
A Salafist distributes editions of the Koran in a small southern German town
Salafism, he said, offers clear answers and clear structures: "In Salafist groups there's a strong emphasis on the sense of community. They regard themselves as an elite."
People familiar with the radical scene say Syria is currently the central theme in everything the Salafists are doing. Most groups don't actually propagate jihadist violence, but the discussions are accompanied by Internet propaganda from Syria and Iraq.
The media section of the "Islamic State" ("IS") terrorist militia has taken the advertising of jihad to a whole new level: Professionally-produced films present the fighting in Syria and Iraq as if it were an action movie.
"For some people it can then be a form of self-discovery or self-affirmation to travel to Syria," said Endres. And it's no problem at all: the three-hour flight to Turkey and crossing the porous border with Syria can easily be arranged in advance.
Cultural ignorance
However, it seems that in Iraq and Syria, German recruits seldom play an important role in their groups. "One problem is a lack of intercultural competence," said Marwan Abou-Taam, in charge of "politically motivated criminality" in the State Office of Criminal Investigations in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Unfamiliar with the culture of Arab regions, they often offend people, he said. There's also their lack of fighting experience. "Few of them were in the German army," he added, whereas the majority of fighters from Arab states have done military service.
Screenshot Youtube Philipp B. alias abu osama
Philip Bergner featured in propaganda videos
German fighters are often deployed as suicide bombers - a key element in "IS" fighting strategy. First they rip a hole in their opponent's defense, using a truck laden with explosives, for example, then "IS" groups come rushing in in their 4x4s, firing in all directions.
A month ago Philip Bergner, a convert to Islam from the German town of Dinslaken, blew himself up near Mosul, killing 20 people. At least five German jihadists have carried out suicide attacks in Iraq, but those are only the confirmed cases. The true number is believed to be much higher.
The security forces are more or less helpless. Openly calling on people to fight in Syria would be a criminal offense - but there's no need to do that, as the topic is being discussed in any case in radical Islamist circles, and there are already plenty such calls on the Internet.
It's not usually possible to prevent suspects from traveling by taking away their passports: German citizens don't need a visa for Turkey, and can use their identity cards to travel. Often, the jihadists return to Germany without difficulty. It might be possible to try and prosecute them, said Abou-Thamm, but "the problem is we can't investigate in Syria or Iraq. We simply don't know what they did there."
Propagandabild IS-Kämpfer
The "Islamic State" has made extensive use of new media to attract followers
Increased threat
Security services are getting increasingly worried about returnees. According to Abou-Tamm, some have come back disappointed and turned away from the idea of jihad, while others have returned with psychological problems and fighting experience. It's hard to predict what they might do.
"Then there's a third group," he said, "those who have returned to Europe with missions, who want to bring the fight to Western societies." There are also many fighters who are unknown to the authorities, which makes it impossible to assess the situation, he said. "That's the fourth group: the ones that can work here in secret without even being noticed."
Intelligence services don't yet have any indication that returnees are following concrete instructions to carry out terrorist attacks. But "IS" terrorism has already reached neighboring Belgium. The attacker who shot and killed three people in the Brussels Jewish Museum in May is believed to have been an "IS" jailer in Syria in the months before the attack, and is said to have tortured hostages.
The risk of an attack in Germany is believed to be more acute, now that Berlin has decided to supply arms to Iraq. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has said he cannot rule out the possibility.
In an attempt to get the problem under control in the medium term, experts are calling for an initiative to counter radical Islam: something along the lines of the political educational work and opt-out program that exist to counter right-wing extremism.
Florian Endres of BAMF believes that schools in particular have a duty to do more to educate people on topics like Islamism and Salafism. "We're constantly observing that people who orient themselves toward Salafism actually have little knowledge or experience of religion," he said.

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