Islamic terrorism a threat to Germany, report says

19th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

Germany's growing military presence in Afghanistan and its involvement in training Iraqi security forces made it a target for the terrorists.

Berlin -- Islamist terrorists are increasingly setting their sights on Germany and view the country as an "operational area," the nation's domestic intelligence service said.

Germany's growing military presence in Afghanistan and its involvement in training Iraqi security forces made it a target for the terrorists, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution said in its annual report.

It said Islamists regard Germany as a Crusader nation and also see it as an ally of the United States and Israel -- two of the biggest foes of Muslim militants or mujahedin.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in presenting the report that Islamic terrorists remain the greatest threat to security and stability in Germany.

Germany had been lucky to escape terrorist attacks so far because of preventive measures taken by the security services and cooperation with the intelligence agencies of other countries, he said.

The 289-page document also spoke of a growing climate of anti-Semitism among right-wing extremists in Germany and the need to continue monitoring the activities of The Left party.

"In addition to rabble-rousing and propaganda, there is also a subtle form of agitation that attempts to tap in on latent anti-Semitism in certain parts of society," it said.

It said neo-Nazis were making increased use of the Internet and pop music to reach out to other sections of the population, particularly young people.

The report said the number of politically motivated crimes in Germany decreased slightly in 2007 to 28,538. The number of violent crimes by neo-Nazis also dipped slightly to 833. There were 4,400 known neo-Nazis in Germany, 200 more than in 2006, it said.

Schaeuble said he did not see much chance of obtaining a court ban on the National Democratic Party (NPD), which has been active in canvassing young voters for its extreme right-wing policies.

Calls for such a ban were raised last year after a spate of attacks on foreigners in the eastern part of Germany, where the party sits in two state parliaments.

An earlier attempt to have the party blacklisted was quashed by the country's top court in 2003 after it emerged that some of its members were informers for the intelligence service.

Schaeuble said the intelligence service would to continue to observe The Left party, because its political goals were at odds with the current form of government in Germany.

The party, whose membership includes communists and disaffected Social Democrats, sits in opposition in the Berlin parliament. It gained entry to the parliaments of two western German states in elections earlier this year.


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