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Controversy in Germany over the presence of Daesh terrorists

An investigation entitled "The Daesh Hunters", broadcast by France's Channel 6, reports on the infiltration of Daesh terrorists through German security networks
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AFP/JOHN MACDOUGALL  -   A Berlin police officer stands guard outside the Sehitlik Mosque in Berlin

The defeat of Daesh in Syria and Iraq by the international coalition has led to terrorists fleeing to Europe to establish themselves on the continent. According to research, at least 500 Daesh terrorists managed to flee through Turkey, Syria and Iraq and legally filter through European security plans.

Moroccan security sources have informed Germany about several Moroccan terrorists currently in Germany. However, the German police seem to ignore these reports and continue to regard them as ordinary people with no connection to jihadist terrorism. Tolerance of these radicals is based on the pretext of defending human rights in the region.

The French investigation shed light on the case of a Moroccan terrorist named Samir, a Daesh member since 2014, who currently lives with his wife on the French-German border and is reportedly on the verge of obtaining a heavy truck driving licence. According to Moroccan intelligence, Samir could be planning a terrorist attack on European soil. 

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PHOTO/REUTERS - German special police forces

In addition to Samir, the investigation is focusing on another active Daesh member named Majid. According to Moroccan sources, Majid was active in what was called the Islamic State's finance ministry and currently lives with impunity in the Ruhr river basin in north-west Germany. Investigations suggest that Majid has a large arsenal of luxury cars and a halal massage parlour in this area financed with money from the terrorist organisation.

In addition, the sudden suspension of relations between Morocco and Germany and the lack of information about the reason for this cessation has multiplied theories about the cause. One of them could be closely related to the Western Sahara conflict.

Why the German police seem to ignore this information remains unknown. In addition, international analysts suspect that these terrorists spend a short period of time in European prisons and then lead a normal life after their release.

According to German media, the radical Salafist circle in Germany has doubled in the last five years to 11,000 members. According to German regional authorities, the number of Islamists who could pose the greatest danger was around 5,500.

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PHOTO/REUTERS - Moroccan special forces detain a man after an anti-terrorist operation in Temara, on the outskirts of Rabat, Morocco

German intelligence estimated in 2019 that around 12,000 people were linked to this interpretation of Islam, thus demonstrating the growing radicalisation of part of German Muslim society. Moreover, the German security forces consider jihadist Salafism to be a threat that is 'consolidated' in the country.

Jihadist Salafism is characterised by the advocacy of the use of force and violence as a means to establish Islamic states and spread Sharia law. These jihadists see themselves as the true ulema, capable of sacrificing themselves for the cause through violence as a political instrument and conveying 'the true message of Allah' to the rest of the Muslim population.

In Germany, Salafi-Jihadist militants use jihadist propaganda in German to attract the country's Muslim population to join their militias. According to the former head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans Georg Maassen, these Salafists pose as aid workers offering money, clothes and toys to attract young people and recruit refugees fleeing the war in Syria. The jihadists offer German refugees translation services and invite them to tea at their homes, with young people being the most vulnerable to this propaganda and the most susceptible profiles to join Daesh lines. The slogan they use for their recruitment is simple: "Come with us. We will show you Paradise". 

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AFP/FADEL SENNA - Members of Morocco's anti-terrorist security service stand guard outside the headquarters of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) in Sale, near the capital Rabat

According to the 2018 report of the German Federal Criminal Investigation Office (BKA), German police and intelligence agencies consider almost 800 German Islamists as potential terrorists. Of these Salafists, 450 are currently in Germany and the rest have left the country.

Currently, the Germans are having trouble dealing with a contingent of 500 extremists from the Caucasus, encompassing the areas of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, a population that has been involved in Daesh recruitment in Syria and Iraq.

The fact that the membership of Salafist ideology has "risen to an all-time high" has raised concerns in Germany as they fear that if it even begins non-violently in factions of Salafism such as quietism, they foresee that this current could normalise ideas and concepts that lead to violent extremism dangerous to international security.