ISIS Recruitments shifts from online to the ground networks

Sources from the Guardian claim that the counter-terror police’s strategy in severing online networks has led to recruitment being shifted to the ground. Extremist preachers in mosques, particularly from Cardiff and Birmingham where men have travelled to Syria to fight, are a growing concern inside the Muslim community.

A 19 year-old ISIS supporter – who states that he is not based in the UK but still within Europe – has said to the Guardian, “We’re really excited to come in and join the khilafah. I know many brothers who have said the recruitment has been booming ever since the announcement [of the caliphate’s establishment] was made because this is what all these groups fought for years and years.” He argues that the UK in particular has been targeted due to its large minority of Salafis.

The Federal State of Hesse combating Salafism

July 30, 2014

The state of Hesse has confirmed to combat Salafism by initiating dialogue to primarily prevent young people from being radicalized. Beside counseling and instructing relatives, friends and teachers, Hesse is planning to establish a platform encouraging dialogical exchange for those affected. The initiative is part of the Violence Prevention Network (VPN). The Christian Democratic Party as well as the The Green Party welcomed the initiative and Jürgen Frömmich (The Green Party) emphasized that extremism can only be combated in the minds.

The Federal State of Hesse and Salafism

July 8, 2014

The state of Hesse is looking for new ways to cope with Salafism. The Free Democratic Party (FDP) suggested that the state parliament should consult experts for analyzing and understanding threats emanating from Salafism. Salafism, as Wolfgang Greilich (FDP) said, “threatens the core of free and liberal-democratic society”. He suggested that the state should cooperate with religious communities, security services and schools on the question of what can be done against this menace. The attempt was questioned and criticized by the Left Party asking if there weren’t other relevant issues at stake if it comes to the endangerment of freedom.

Scathing report could shut Muslim school for promoting Salafi beliefs

21st May 2014

Ofsted inspectors have harshly criticised an independent Muslim school for promoting Salafi fundamentalist beliefs and rated the school as inadequate, in a possible prelude to it being closed or taken over by the Department for Education. In their unpublished draft report, the inspectors said the school – the Olive Tree primary school in Luton – fails to prepare its pupils “for life in modern Britain, as opposed to life in a Muslim state”, and that its library contains books that are “abhorrent to British society” in their depiction of punishments under sharia law.

“Some books in the children’s library contain fundamentalist Islamic beliefs (Salafi) or are set firmly within a Saudi Arabian socio-religious context. Some of the views promoted by these books, for example about stoning women, have no place in British society,” the report argues.

But the school’s governors and trustees vehemently denied the findings of the inspectors, who had been forced to cut short their visit last week after being confronted by parents upset by their questioning of pupils about attitudes to homosexuality.

Farooq Murad, general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, on Wednesday wrote to Ofsted’s chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, asking him to clarify the watchdog’s policy on teaching about homosexuality in independent faith schools, in the wake of the Olive Tree inspection.

“We have a large number of books about different faiths, which the inspectors failed to notice, including The Diary of Ann Frank,” said Farasat Latif, the school’s chair of governors, who said the library also included works of fiction by authors such as Roald Dahl. Latif also denied the school was Salafist – a reference to the conservative form of Islam most associated with Saudi Arabia – although he said some members of staff might describe themselves that way.

The inspectors also criticised the mixed school – which had about 60 pupils – for inadequate attention to national guidelines on safeguarding and child protection, although it said pupils were well supervised and that staff appointments and record checks were followed correctly. The draft report criticised the Olive Tree school’s teaching, although it noted that pupils achieved good results in national standardised tests and were well behaved. It also praised the teaching of Arabic as “skilful”.

The report makes no reference to homosexuality, although the inspectors wrote: “Pupils’ contact with people from different cultures, faiths and traditions is too limited to promote tolerance and respect for the views, lifestyles and customs of other people.”

“Industrial” Islam

October 19, 2013

 

In Catalonia, mosques continue to be pushed further away from the city centers and placed into industrial spaces.
From the 200 existing mosques in Catalonia, between 15 and 20 of them are located at industrial spaces, according to sociologist expert Jordi Moreras. Moreover, an investigation by the Mossos d’ Esquadra (local police) warned about the radical expansion of Salafism in these small mosques. Of the five places of worship which cultivate salafism, four of them are located in industrial spaces: Tarragona, Reus, Roda de Bara, and Torredembarra.

 

El Pais: http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2013/10/19/catalunya/1382203257_281728.html

The Government of Catalonia denies that the ban of burqa violates Fundamental Rights

28 August 2013

 

The Catalonian government spokesman, Francesc Homs, denied Tuesday that the order of their Department of Interior affairs to create a record of burkas and niqabs violates fundamental rights. “The duty of the police is to know what happens “, said Homs. The procedure is based on the assumption that these garments may constitute an indicator of the emergence of Salafism.

The Popular Party of Tarragona does not want more mosques in the city

05 June 2013

 

Popular Party (PP) of Tarragona does not want more mosques in the city and believes that “one is enough.” Its spokesman, Alejandro Fernández, said: “It is legitimate to say the freedom of worship is guaranteed, since there is already a mosque”. The PP wants Tarragona to become “a model of managed immigration”.
The PP of Tarragona also wants an analysis “of the situation of radical Salafism” in Tarragona to be done preventively.

Critiquing Salafism in the Netherlands

4 September 2012

 

Radio Netherlands Worldwide profiles Izzeddin Ruhulessin, a young convert to Islam, and his assessment of the Salafist movement in the Netherlands. According to the article, Salafism gained in prominence in the country in the years following the 2004 murder of film maker Theo van Gogh. Researcher Martijn de Koning attributes the popularity to “second and third generation immigrants who are looking for an alternative to the traditional Islam that was brought by their parents or grandparents from the countries of origin.”

Ruhulessin suggests that Salafism is now declining in popularity, with other Muslims irritated by the strict requirements for orthodoxy and emphasis on external appearance upheld by the movement. The dynamic is particularly visible online, which sees both a strong and popular Salafist presence in internet forums used by young Dutch Muslims, as well as an increasingly vocal critique on venues such as Face Book.

The Response to the Salafist Movement in Germany: Heavy on Populism, Light on Strategic Thinking

Many intelligence officials in Germany are baffled by the political response to the Salafist movement. As far as they are concerned, there is too much populism, not enough strategic thinking, and ineffective communication to boot. Albrecht Metzger reports.

At 6 a.m. on 14 June, a hundred-strong police unit advanced on the Millatu Ibrahim Mosque in Solingen and cleared the house of worship. Just a few hours later, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich announced a ban on the eponymous association, whose members had expressed open allegiance to al-Qaeda, and had its Internet site removed from the web.

Abu Usama al-Gharib, who until a few months ago was a preacher at the mosque and is now thought to be in Egypt, posted an immediate reaction on his blog: “Until you believe in Allah alone there will clearly only be ENMITY AND HATRED FOREVER between you and us. You can’t ban Millatu Ibrahim. Because we carry Millatu Ibrahim in our hearts. Victory or martyrdom.”

The Islamic extremists have since fallen silent. But for how long? “The confrontation with Salafism has only just begun,” says Guido Steinberg, a specialist in terrorism at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. “Millatu Ibrahim has openly issued propaganda for al-Qaeda. Dealing with the Salafists who advocate jihad but don’t express this publicly is much more difficult.”

Salafist Activism in Germany

April 13/ May 8

 

This spring, Salafi activism and reactions to it have been at the centre of public attention in Germany.

 

At the end of April, the “Read the Koran” initiative took place: Salafi activists distributed free copies of the Koran to passers-by in several German cities. The event has triggered a discussion among German authorities on how to deal with the recent activities of the radical Islamist branch. Politicians and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution have expressed great concern about the Koran distribution initiative, interpreting it as propaganda and a destabilizing factor for religious peace. Journalists who were reporting about the Salafist activities were threatened by some Salafi adherents. The latter have also released intimidating videos on the internet platform You Tube.

 

Days later, as the date of elections of the German Federal State North RhineWestphalia was drawing close, the far right-wing movement (Pro NRW) has initiated a German wide “Muhammad cartoon contest”, displaying provoking Muhammad cartoons in front of mosques. On May 1st, Pro NRW gathered a group of its adherents in the German city of Solingen, and about thirty Salafi activists used this opportunity to protest against the anti-Islamic cartoons. The Salafi protest turned to violent confrontation, when some radical Islamists begun to attack German police by throwing stones and wielding poles from protest banners.

 

Confrontation escalated dramatically in Bonn on May 6th. Approximately 200 Salafists attacked about 30 far right-wing extremists, belonging to Pro NRW, who were showing posters of the Muhammad cartoons. More than 29 police men were injured through stone and knife attacks by violent Salafi. Rather than spontaneous, the Salafi counter protesters are said to have been mobilized in advance. The North RhineWestphalian Minister of Interior Ralf Jäger (SPD) called for strict legal consequences against the violent extremists and condemned the provocation of Pro NRW as an attempt of sedition against the four millions of peaceful Muslims in Germany.

 

 

The context: Salafi leaders and associations

 

There are about 4000 Salafi adherents in Germany, living all over the country but mostly in its Western regions, like North Rhine-Westphalia (Cologne, Moenchen-Gladbach, Iserlohn), as well as in Berlin.

 

Among leading figures for the movement there is Ibrahim Abou Nagie, a preacher and project initiator from Cologne. He is said to be a Palestinian from Gaza who migrated to Germany as student of electric engineering. He claims then to have made a multimillionaire fortune as a businessman but that he had changed his mind when he found the internet platform “The True Religion”. While he was one of the leaders of the campaign “Read the Koran”, he does not seem to be involved in the anti-cartoons demonstrations. German authorities regard his platform as one of the political strands of Salafism but suspect him to be close to violent Jihadi circles, radicalizing Muslims with hate speeches. Some of these hate speeches have called to execute homosexuals and called to persecute Jews.  Organization-wise, since 2005, Abou Nagie used the online platform “The True Religion” to preach and address young Muslims. He and other Salafi members invite young Muslims to become conscious about their religion. Skype conferences are also offered, to invite conversions and offer advice about religious jurisprudence.

 

Pierre Vogel is another central figure among the Salafi. He belongs to the political arm of Salafism refusing the Jihad approach in his official speeches. A former boxer, the German man converted to Islam and started preaching on You Tube, mainly addressing young Muslims with messages about the Sharia and whether the fundamental values of 7th Century Islam would be conform with today’s cultural and societal forms of life. He uses examples related to leisure time, disco, music, alcohol and unveiled women to attract the interest of young Muslims. Despite, or probably because of his popularity among younger Muslims, he has denied any active involvement in the recent Salafi actions. He has actually condemned the violence, while still supporting the spirit of the anti-cartoons protest.

 

A third important Salafist, the Austrian Islamist Muhammad Mahmud, has been deported at the end of April by the German State of Hessen. Mahmud, also known as Abu Usama al-Gharib (Name in Jihadi milieu), was convicted and found guilty of creating the German speaking branch of the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), an organization supporting and advertising the actions of Al Qaida in the media. He perceives himself as a neo-fundamentalist who would convert Germans to Salafi Islam.

 

Last, Sheikh Hassan Dabbagh who is an Imam and preacher of the Al-Rahman mosque in the German city of Leipzig. He uses the internet platform www.Salaf.de to speak about Islamic practice, family issues and the prophet Muhammad. He belongs to the political strand of Salafism and has criticized the Salafi protests appealing them to reject violence. Preaching the Islamic missionary approach of Dawa, he eschewed the recent escalation that would only serve German authorities and media to condemn the Salafi and isolate Islam from Germany.      

 

The association “Invitation to Paradise” was a center for mobilization and organization of Salafi activities. Social and cultural activities such as collective prayers, pilgrimages and protests against the ban of Burqa were organized in Cologne and Moenchen-Gladbach. Parts of its activities were webinars, which offered courses on Islamic studies. Together with other Salafi organizations, “Invitation to Paradise” became the object of a police investigation in the aftermaths of a terrorist attack in March 2011: two American soldiers had been shot by a self-radicalized young Islamist. Before the State authorities took any action to ban the association, “Invitation to Paradise” dissolved itself.

 

(Die Zeit Online PDF Version)

http://pdf.zeit.de/gesellschaft/2012-04/salafisten-koran-debatte.pdf

 

(Spiegel Online International – English Version)

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,830775,00.html

 

(Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution –Report Salafism)

http://www.verfassungsschutz.de/download/SHOW/broschuere_1204_salafistische_bestrebungen.pdf

 

(Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution –Report 2010)

http://www.verfassungsschutz.de/download/SHOW/vsbericht_2010.pdf

 

(Replaced webpage of “Invitation to Islam”)

https://www.muslimtube.de/

 

(Political Missionary Salafism)

www.salaf.de

 

(SWP Study 2012)

http://www.swp-berlin.org/fileadmin/contents/products/studien/2012_S05_dfr.pdf