Germans divided on giving up personal freedom

10th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

10 September 2007, Berlin (dpa) - The German population is split down the middle on whether to surrender personal freedoms for the sake of countering the threat of terrorism, according to a survey published Sunday.

10 September 2007

Berlin (dpa) - The German population is split down the middle on whether to surrender personal freedoms for the sake of countering the threat of terrorism, according to a survey published Sunday.

The Emnid survey commissioned by the Sunday edition of the mass-circulation Bild newspaper found that 48 per cent were willing to give up rights to personal freedom, such as by allowing the security forces to conduct secret online searches of personal computers, while 47 per cent were against.

The so-called "government Trojan" is a topic of hot debate in Germany, with Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble pushing for the legal right to monitor computers, but many politicians on the left opposed.

The survey found that 25 per cent of the population felt personally threatened by Islamist terrorism, against 73 per cent who did not.

There was widespread concern that the deployment of some 3,500 German troops to Afghanistan was turning the country into a target for Islamist terrorists.

Almost half - 49 per cent - backed withdrawing German troops and police, while 43 per cent wanted the stabilization mission to continue.

The German parliament is to debate renewing the deployment next month.

German commentators have noted with concern that two of those arrested on Tuesday last week in connection with a massive bomb conspiracy aimed at US citizens in Germany were German converts to Islam.

The upmarket Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper referred to a "changed quality of terrorism" in its Sunday editorial.

It noted that it was "necessary to distinguish Islam and Islamism" but warned this remained difficult.

The link to Pakistan was also highlighted. The federal prosecution has made known that the three suspects being held underwent training at camps in northern Pakistan last year.

Security force leaks to the media indicated that they were receiving online instructions from Pakistan on which targets to attack and when. The leaks were not officially confirmed, but also not denied.

dpa

Subject: German news

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