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Number of Salafists in Germany Reaches Record High

Number of Salafists in Germany Reaches Record HighNumber of Salafists in Germany Reaches Record High

More Salafists are living in Germany than ever before, domestic intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maassen said on Sunday.

Maasen said the number of people adhering to the fundamentalist extremist ideology had “risen to an all-time high,” with the German intelligence agency BfV giving a figure of 10,800 Salafists in Germany as compared with 9,700 in December last year, DW reported.

A growing “fragmentation” and drift to the private sphere of Salafism in Germany was making the scene harder to observe for authorities, Maassen said.

The BfV said the movement’s recruitment drives have now more or less left the streets and mosques, and added that Salafists were instead being radicalized in small conspiratorial groups on the internet. The agency also pointed to the growing number of women’s networks as posing a challenge for authorities, who have problems accessing them.

Security authorities see the Salafist movement as a potential springboard into terrorism, particularly for young Muslims.

Maassen also said extremists from the North Caucasus region represented a major threat to security in Germany, with some 500 extremists from republics such as Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia now thought to be living in the country.

“The affinity for violence, martial arts and weaponry held by many extremists from the North Caucasus calls for attention from German security authorities,” Maassen said.

He said that many of them had combat experience, having not only fought in the wars in Chechnya but also taken part in current conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

 

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