Lebanese Hezbollah supporters gesture as they march during a religious procession to mark Ashura in Beirut's suburbs.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The number of Islamists in Germany increased to 43,890 in 2014 from 43,190 in 2013, according to a report released on Tuesday by the country’s domestic intelligence agency.
Radical Islamists are “the greatest danger to Germany,” said Hans-Georg Maassen, the president of the agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). “Germany is on the spectrum of goals for Islamic terrorists,” he added.
Hezbollah has 950 active operatives in the Federal Republic, and Hamas has 300. Germany has designated Hamas as a terrorist organization. The Merkel administration along with the EU banned Hezbollah’s military wing in 2013, but allows its political wing to operate.
According to the BfV report, the number of Salafists in the country increased to 7,000 in 2014 from 5,500 the previous year. The Salafists are “the most dynamic Islamic movement in Germany” and serve as a recruitment pool for jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, the report said.
The chapter on “Islamism and Islamic terrorism” states that at demonstrations against last summer’s Gaza war, there “were rather more Hamas-supporting events than peace demonstrations, and there was clearly public anti-Semitism.”
The anti-Semitic slogans targeted “Jews and Israel” and resulted in attacks on Jews and pro-Israel activists.
“Kill the Jews!” “Jews out!” and, “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!” were some of the slogans chanted at the 2014 protests.
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The BfV cited the arson at the Wuppertal synagogue in North Rhine-Westphalia state in June 2014. A local court exonerated the perpetrators, German Palestinians, of anti-Semitism. It said the men sought to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict” by tossing Molotov cocktails at the synagogue.
“Hamas was successful” in mobilizing its organization and people outside of its core support to participate in anti-Israel protests, the BfV report said. There was “public anti-Semitism at pro-Palestinian demonstrations” against Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, the agency said, adding, “It was noticeable that a large number of mostly young people with an immigrant background expressed themselves in an anti-Semitic and hate-filled way.”
While the demonstrations against Israel were driven by Islamists, the BfV noted that extremist Turks, as well as left-wing and rightwing fanatics, were present. Many participants had no recognizable extremist background, the agency wrote.
The number attacks by right-wing extremists soared to 990 in 2014, a 23.6 percent from 2013. The spike was animated by xenophobia and attacks on political refugee housing and asylum- seekers The BfV report noted that the far Right “says Israel and means Jews in general, and the label ‘Zionist’ serves as a synonym for ‘Jew’ for rightwing extremists.” The unifying factor for Islamists, the far Right and far Left, is a deep loathing of Jews, it said.
Participants at pro-Palestinian demonstrations attempted to camouflage their Jew-hatred by purporting to be solely anti-Zionist or anti-Israel, the report noted.
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