The analysis reveals how Germany’s Salafist groups are deeply connected to the most prominent jihadist leaders and are the perpetrators of homegrown, sophisticated plots and attacks against U.S. and European targets.
Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) July 17, 2012
Although the current hotbed of militant Islam is generally thought to be concentrated in Yemen and Somalia, some of the most dangerous leaders and terrorist cells directed at the “far enemy” (U.S. and its European allies) are in Germany. That’s the assertion of a new analysis of the extreme branch of Islam known as Salafism that has been added to the Publishing Center in Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC), an online resource center for the study of terrorism and political violence. The analysis reveals how Germany’s Salafist groups are deeply connected to the most prominent jihadist leaders and are the perpetrators of homegrown, sophisticated plots and attacks against U.S. and European targets.
“Germany has seen a growing number of radicalized German Muslims and recent converts willing to take up arms,” said Maha Hamdan, author of the analysis and a noted researcher on Salafism and jihad. “Those Jihadists are overwhelmingly not foreign born immigrants. Many are natural born Germans who have converted from a Western religion to Islam. What is unique about these German-born converts to Islam is their attraction to militancy.”
Little attention was paid to militant Islamism in Germany and specifically to Salafism prior to 2000, but escalating activity has raised the Salafist profile, according to TRAC. Since the turn of the century, at least nine plans for Salafist attacks on German soil have been averted and 350 legal proceedings related to Islamist-terrorist offenses are being litigated.
Hamdan examines the background and influence of German clerics who have established ties with the Taliban, al Qaeda and its highest-ranking leaders, including Bin Laden and al Zaquiri, and prominent terrorist cells. Among them are the Sauerland cell that had planned to bomb U.S. targets within Germany, including the (U.S. Air Force) Rammstein Air Base, Frankfurt Airport, American barracks and a Frankfurt nightclub. “This is the most prominent Islamist terror plot concocted entirely in Germany and its genesis reveals the importance of the growing Salafist network as breeding ground for domestic attacks as well as attacks abroad,” says Hamden. Other plots planned by German Jihadists included the Bali nightclub bombings in 2002, which claimed 200 lives and injured more than 300.
Hamdan’s analysis also points out the specific regions in Germany that appear to be more susceptible to radicalization than others, including Ulm and Neu-Ulm, home of the “Multi Culture House,” known for its hostile attitude towards democracy, the Jewish people, and the Western hemisphere, and its service as a major source of financing and recruiting.
“Analyses such as Maha’s drive TRAC closer to its mission of providing insight that helps scholars and researchers in their understanding of terrorism,” said Veryan Khan, editorial director of TRAC. “Ultimately, TRAC seeks to arm researchers with information that can help predict and control serious world threats.”
Maha Hamdan, a Beirut-based researcher and analyst on terrorism, has written extensively on Salafism. Her article on Salafist jihadism in Germany resulted from her global monitor of terrorist activity and appears in the Publishing Center of the TRAC database. TRAC’s Publishing Center is a forum for scholars from around the world to submit articles that can be shared with members of the TRAC research consortium and users of the database – which is most often purchased and made available through academic libraries and other institutions supporting research of terrorism.
TRAC is a digital information resource that addresses the burgeoning need among faculty, scholars, students, government and defense professionals for cutting-edge research on terrorism and terrorists of all kinds. The Beacham Group, LLC, unveiled TRAC in February 2012 after eight years in development. Immediately commended for its breadth of content – described by Library Journal as “astonishing” – TRAC provides historical context and maintains a current intelligence repository with a consortium of 2,200 specialists and a real-time news feed that reports on events as they occur. It includes profiles of 3,850 terrorist groups and links to over 1,600 think tanks, universities, government agencies and other resources studying terrorism.
Veryan Khan is available for interviews through TRAC’s media office. Follow TRAC on twitter (@TRACTerrorism) to stay up to date on important, but often missed news in this dynamic area. To learn more about TRAC visit http://www.trackingterrorism.org.
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