More than 32,000 Islamist extremists in Germany
22 May 2006
BERLIN – The number of Islamist extremists based in Germany increased slightly last year but the country faces far lower threat of terrorist attacks than states which took part in the Iraq war, an official report said Monday.
There were 32,100 Islamists living in Germany last year – an increase of about 300 from 2004, said the report by Germany’s domestic security agency, the Verfassungsschutz.
Germany has a Muslim minority of about 3 million out of a total population of 82 million, said the report.
The biggest Islamist group is Milli Gorus, a Turkish movement with 26,500 members.
Other groups are Hamas with about 300 members, Hezbollah with 900 and the Muslim Brotherhood with 1,300.
The Verfassungsschutz has no figures for the number of al-Qaeda members based in Germany, the report said.
“Even though the degree to which Germany is threatened is clearly lower than for those states which took part in the Iraq war, it must be noted that Germany is still seen … as a helper of the US and Israel,” said the report which underlined the presence of German troops in Afghanistan as boosting this image.
Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder declined to send troops for the 2003 Iraq war and his refusal to deploy German soldiers in Iraq has been kept in place by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The police and military in Germany are gearing up for major security operation during the football World Cup which opens June 9 in Munich and ends July 9 in Berlin.
Subject: German news