Until now, German public perception of the Salafists placed the phenomenon firmly on foreign soil. Recent events involving followers of this radical school of Islamic thought such as the distribution of copies of the Koran in German cities and violent clashes with police have raised some concerns, but how dangerous are the Salafists in reality? Answers from Albrecht Metzger
Until recently, German public perception of the Salafist movement was of a phenomenon primarily taking place abroad. The fundamentalists with the long beards and cropped trousers captured some 20 per cent of the Egyptian vote. Now they aim to impose Sharia law on the nation and induce society to live by the example of the Prophet and his disciples.
They also made negative press in Tunisia, with verbal attacks on Jews and anyone challenging their rigid world view. But in Germany? For sure, police and intelligence agencies have long had the German Salafists on their radar, and they warn of the potential dangers posed by this ideology. Members of what was known as the “Sauerland cell”, who planned attacks on US installations in 2007 and were sentenced to serve long jail terms, came from this milieu.