Author: Cristina Burack
Posted on: DW.com | April 4th, 2018
The number of individuals recognized by German authorities as adherents of Salafism has reached a new all-time high, German paper Tagesspiegel has reported. The growth is particularly fast in Germany’s smallest states.
The number of Salafists in Germany has increased twofold since 2013, the German daily Der Tagesspiegel reported on Tuesday, surpassing December’s “all-time high.” The number of individuals classified as Salafists by regional authorities in state offices for the Protection of the Constitution reached 11,000, the paper said, citing unnamed security sources. Five years ago the German intelligence agency BfV placed this number at 5,500 — half of the current total. Salafism is a fundamentalist Islamic ideology. Security authorities see Salafism as a potential entry point to Islamist terrorism.
Just under 5 million Muslims live in Germany, meaning that the current number of Salafists makes up roughly 0.22 percent of Germany’s total Muslim population. Fast growth in Berlin, Hamburg, eastern states Security figures pointed out that while the rate of growth of the Salafist scene had slowed, “stagnation or even a reduction was not yet in sight,” Tagesspiegel said.
The figures also told the paper that the Salafist scene’s fastest growth was taking place in Germany’s smaller states, such as the city-states of Berlin and Hamburg. Officials in Hamburg said Tuesday that of that state’s 798 Salafists, 434 have been classified as “jihadis,” meaning they have a potential for violence. Last June, 365 of Hamburg’s 730 identified Salafists received this classification.
Adherence to Salafism in the former East German states has also grown, though the total numbers remain low. The Brandenburg Interior Ministry reported a current total of 100 Salafists in the state, an increase of 20 people from 2016.
In December, BfV President Hans-Georg Maassen said the number of Salafists living in Germany had reached an “all-time high” at 10,800. The intelligence agency highlighted recruitment of new individuals to the ideology through private spheres, including the internet, which makes it harder for authorities to monitor.