The majority of people on Germany’s Islamic extremist watchlist have German citizenship or are dual nationals, data from the federal government has revealed.
The data, which was released following an inquiry from the national-conservative Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, shows 186 of the 330 individuals who have been deemed threats based on their “religious ideology” as of July 1, 2021, held German passports, local newspaper Nürnberger Nachrichten reports.
Among the 144 foreign Islamist threats, there were 61 Syrians, 17 Iraqis, 13 Russian nationals, 11 Turkish passport holders, and one Afghan citizen. The nationality of the remaining eight Islamist threats isn’t entirely clear, although two of them are stateless persons.
The data raises concerns that even those with migrant backgrounds, such as second- or -third-generation citizens with a migrant background, are failing to integrate and are still posing a security threat despite the German government’s efforts to improve integration.
According to the Central Register of Foreigners – a German database containing the personal information of some 20 million foreign nationals living in the country – approximately 1.5 million Turks, 818,000 Syrians, and 272,000 Afghans were living in Germany at the end of last year, indicating that Syrians and Iraqis were considerably overrepresented in the data.
But how do police determine who constitutes a threat?
Police deem an individual dangerous if they’re believed capable of carrying out serious, politically motivated acts of violence – including terrorist attacks. When “objective evidence which allows the prognosis that [a person] will commit politically motivated crimes of considerable importance” comes to light, a person is considered dangerous, then they’re placed on the threats list, and they’re subsequently surveilled by German authorities.
Earlier this year, in May, the Salafist-Islamic association Ansaar International — an organization that operates under the guise of providing humanitarian aid to Muslims in need — was banned from Germany for using donations to fund terrorist outfits around the world, as Remix News previously reported.
Groups linked to the Ansaar International including Somali Committee for Information and Advice, the Änis Ben-Hatira Foundation, the Frauenrechte ANS Justice eV association, Umma Shop and Helpstore Secondhand UG, and Better World Appeal were also banned.
The same day the ban was announced, raids against people and properties associated with Ansaar International and its offshoots took place across ten federal states. During the sweeps, which involved some 1,000 officers, €150,000 in cash along with other physical and electronic evidence was seized.
Despite taking some small steps to combat terrorism at home, it was revealed late last month that the German government had funded the construction of a mosque in Afghanistan which later became a center for Islamic extremism, according to a German counter-terrorism expert.
“A mosque was built in an Afghan village for German money that came from the [German] Foreign Ministry. It was later discovered that the most was speaking out against the West, and the site became a hotspot of Islamist propaganda. It was soon discovered that the ministries involved in the operation in Afghanistan did not communicate with each other. There was no coordination, no focal point. Everyone had their own projects,” Rolf Tophoven, an expert on terrorism, told Focus.