Blow to Salafism in Germany

More than 800 police officers have taken part in a raid against a Salafist organisation
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PHOTO/AP  -   A policeman during raids against an Islamist network in the Maerkische Viertel neighborhood in Berlin, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021

German security forces have carried out a major raid against Salafism. The German authorities announced the banning of the organisation Jama'atu Berlin, also known as Tauhid Berlin, and the development of a large raid against it, mainly in Berlin, although inspections have also taken place in Brandenburg.

In total, more than 800 police officers were mobilised during the raid, which is intended to deal a major blow to Salafism in Germany, a growing phenomenon. Tauhid Berlin is accused of links to Daesh. In fact, German media report that the group would have had contact with Anis Amri, the Tunisian who killed 12 people in 2016 after a mass shooting at a Christmas market, as the organisation and the Tunisian terrorist frequented the Fussilet mosque, which was shut down in 2017 along with the association that ran it, in a raid similar to the one that took place today.

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PHOTO/AP - Police searched the flats of several suspected supporters of an Islamic extremist organisation banned in the German capital

German intelligence estimated in 2019 that there were around 12,000 people linked to this radical interpretation of Islam, a figure that has tripled since 2011, and which is evidence of a growing radicalisation of part of Muslim society in Germany. A part that, taking into account the population of Turkish origin, is not small. The German security forces consider Salafism a 'consolidated' threat in the country.

Tauhid Berlin, apart from its links to Daesh and Salafist proselytising, is accused of inciting violence against non-Muslims and especially against Jews. The Berlin Senate was responsible for announcing the ban via the Twitter network, although, according to the daily 'Bild', so far only one arrest has been made during searches of several properties. The organisation is believed to have consisted of around 20 members.

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AFP/GREGOR FISCHER - File photo Police officers outside the "Fussilet 33" mosque in Berlin on February 28, 2017. German authorities have closed a radical mosque in Berlin, which was frequented by Anis Amri, the perpetrator of the truck attack on a Christmas market in December, local police said on 28 February 2017

Germany remains in a complex situation as far as terrorism is concerned. The country not only has to cope with Islamist terrorism, which has been the norm on European soil in recent years, but also with the rise of right-wing extremist violence which, like Tauhid Berlin proclaimed, sees Jews as its main enemy. Just a week ago was the anniversary of the most serious terrorist attack of this kind since the Second World War. It took place in Hanau, where a gunman killed a dozen people. A few months earlier, another man killed two people outside a synagogue in Halle, and German politician Walter Lübcke was assassinated by a right-wing extremist.

One of the last operations of this kind took place in November last year, following the attack in Vienna. During the operation, the properties of four people in various locations in Germany were searched, as they had been in contact with the terrorist who killed several people in the centre of the Austrian capital.