German intelligence reports there have been at least 340 attempts by ISIS and other Islamist groups to recruit potential fighters in refugee centers and local mosques. Both of these remain largely outside the government’s oversight.
The head of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maassen, was quoted by Die Welt as saying, “…we must not concentrate on IS only, which apparently sends terrorist commandos to Europe.
“There could be lone wolf attackers who are radicalizing on their own.”
Maassen attributes these lone wolf attackers to the fact that Germany’s Arabic-speaking mosque landscape is not organized and therefore, exists outside the influence of Germany’s government.
Also, Maassen points out difficulties that Germany’s intelligence agency faces, namely that there are legal restrictions regarding monitoring phone calls and emails. “A fundamental problem is that we don’t know who chats with who,” says Maassen.
This report comes a few months after another from Germany’s intelligence agency claiming ISIS was targeting German cities next for both attacks and recruiting.
In this earlier report, German intelligence stated the “great problem is that many fugitives – around 70 percent – have no valid IDs.”
The report also gave more information regarding how Salafists and other Islamists already in Germany actively try to recruit refugees into their ranks. Many migrants come without their families, having little or no engagement with society. Some seek any opportunity to socialize, including by attending Friday prayers.
The heterogenous nature of the Arabic-speaking Islamic community in Germany, which makes it difficult for the government to oversee, and the refugees’ strong desire to find a sense of community in a new place, also makes it easy and more likely for these refugees to find their way, whether intentionally or accidentally, into the spheres of radical Islamists.
According to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence in January Germany supplied between 500 and 600 ISIS recruits, making it one of the largest contributors of ISIS fighters behind only France which has, as of January, supplied approximately 1,200 recruits.