Stefan Goertz & Stephan Maninger

Hochschule des Bundes

The Salafist Milieu in Germany: An Assessment of the Radicalisation Process

The German domestic intelligence services recently an­nounced the presence of the highest ever recorded number of Salafists in Germany, including more than 10,000 individu­als. This number reflects only the official picture of detected cases and leaves room for speculation as to the number of undetected persons of interest (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz 2018). In addition to this historic high of German Sala­fists the security authorities estimate the number of militant “potential Salafist Jihadists“ (Gefährder), i.e. the number of potential terrorists at a minimum of 1,600 individuals (Bewarder/Flade 2017). While Germany has been spared the type of mass-casualty attacks that have wreaked havoc in the cities of its European neighbours, 2016 saw four Salafist-Jihadist terrorist attacks which killed 12 people and injured more than 80 others (Goertz 2017). The knife attack by a 15-year-old German-Moroccan schoolgirl on a police officer of the federal police (Bundespolizei), injuring him critically during a routine stop at the Hannover railway station raised a huge media response in Germany. The adolescent Salafist Safia S. demonstrated the threat posed by one determined Salafist in a country that has little experience in dealing with over 10,000 such potential terrorist actors.

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