TerrorismMore than 100 “High-Risk” Islamists at Large in Germany: Security Service

Published 21 November 2020

More than 120 Islamists in Germany pose a “high risk,” according to Germany’s federal police, with 115 more posing a potentially high risk. There is a growing debate in Germany about monitoring extremists, and about streamlining deportation policies for extremists about to be released from jail.

In response to a parliamentary question by the Green Party, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, or BKA), revealed there are currently 124 “high risk” Islamists at large in the country.

The agency also listed 151 people as posing a “moderate risk” to public safety.

The BKA’s responses were published in Die Welt newspaper Saturday (21 November). The newspaper reported that police believe the Islamists could carry out politically motivated crimes, including violent attacks.

There is a growing debate in Germany about increasing surveillance of Islamists in the wake of a deadly knife attack in Dresden last month. The German security services had classified the Syrian attacker as a threat only five days before he was released from jail.

The German government says it is aware of 240 Islamists who are at large and could potentially pose a threat.

Some 135 of these people have German citizenship, while a third of them have other nationalities – 41 Syrians, 17 Russians, seven Iraqis, seven Turks, and people from around 20 other countries.

The nationality of seven Islamists is “unclear,” while three are stateless.

Die Welt reports that the government has already barred several Islamists from leaving Germany in order to prevent them from supporting a terrorist group abroad.

In its response to the Green Party, BKA said that currently there is an exit ban on 24 people who pose a risk, as well as on 13 potential Islamist supporters.

Islamists who want to travel to what Germany defines as a “jihadi area” pose an “increased potential risk,” the security agency said.

The BKA also said it has no knowledge about how many potential Islamists possess a firearm license, adding that it is the job of the state authorities to investigate.

German lawmakers criticized the BKA response, saying it is not acceptable that the security agency has no knowledge of whether or not dangerous Islamist terrorists have a license to purchase and own firearms – especially since the number of the extremists under surveillance is so small.

Lawmakers also called for tightening the government’s deportation policy, especially as a large number of currently incarcerated Islamists are reaching the end of their jail sentences, and will be released soon.

Konstantin von Notz, the deputy leader of the Green Party’s parliamentary group, told Die Welt, that he wanted clarification on this issue: “Who needs to be closely monitored, and in which conditions is it possible and necessary? How do individual states act, and what role does the federal government play in this regard?”