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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
Acts of terror increasing throughout
Germany Bracing for Islamic Terror
by Soeren Kern
Paris "Just the First Shot."
German police have evidence "that key European cities could be attacked
at any time." — Der Spiegel.
"This is a serious situation." — German Interior Minister Thomas de
"You will pay the price as you walk on your streets, turning right and
left, fearing the Muslims. We will conquer your Rome, break your
crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah." — Jihadist
video threatening Italy.
"The Islamists... showed France that they are incapable of democracy and
rather look to violence and death as an answer! Our politicians want us
to believe the opposite. Must such a tragedy happen here in Germany
first???" — Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West [PEGIDA].
The offices of a German newspaper that republished satirical cartoons
from Charlie Hebdo, a French magazine known for lampooning Islam, have
been hit by arsonists.
No one was hurt in the attack on the Hamburger Morgenpost, which
occurred in the early morning hours of January 11 and caused only minor
Although police arrested two individuals in connection with the
incident, their identities have not yet been released to the public. But
German police said they are "working under the assumption" that the
attack was connected to the decision by the paper, also known as MOPO,
to republish cartoons spoofing Mohammed on its front page on January 8,
as an act of solidarity with the attack on the journalists of Charlie
Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz said that any attack on the press and freedom
of expression is an attack on democracy. "A free press and freedom of
expression are part of the foundation on which democracy rests," Scholz
said. "A democratic society without a press-mediated conversation about
the political and social issues of our time cannot be imagined."
The attack came a day after the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported
that Germany's Federal Criminal Police Agency (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA)
has enacted a nationwide emergency plan in an effort to prevent Islamic
terrorists from striking in Germany.
According to Der Spiegel, federal and state security agencies have been
ordered to locate the whereabouts of up to 250 German Islamists and
other "relevant persons" whose identities are known to counter-terrorism
authorities. The magazine also reported that the BKA had evidence "that
key European cities could be attacked at any time."
In an interview with the newspaper Bild am Sonntag on January 11, German
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere confirmed that German intelligence
was monitoring "around 260 individuals" who could potentially strike at
any moment. He said:
"We have no concrete evidence of attacks. But, as I said, we have about
260 dangerous individuals (Gefährder). We also have around 550 people
who have travelled to the battle zones in Syria and Iraq. Between 150
and 180 of these have returned to Germany, and 30 of them are
battle-hardened fundamentalists. They pose a serious threat to our
security. I am very concerned about well-prepared perpetrators such as
those in Paris, Brussels, Australia and Canada. This is a serious
Bild questioned whether Germany has enough security personnel to track
all the potential terrorists. According to the newspaper, at least 60
police officers are needed to successfully monitor just one German
jihadist around the clock.
De Maiziere said he was doing all he could, but he conceded: "So far we
have been lucky. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case."
In a separate article, Bild reported that British intelligence has
warned European authorities of a plan to attack passenger aircraft with
explosives that cannot be detected by airport scanners.
In December, undercover inspectors from the European Commission, the
administrative arm of the European Union, reportedly found that
dangerous weapons and other banned items passed through security at
Frankfurt Airport, the largest in Germany, undetected 50 percent of the
time. The security lapses at Europe's third-largest airport have set off
alarm bells across the continent.
Bild also reported that American intelligence agencies had intercepted
the conversations of senior members of the Islamic State [IS] in which
they said the attacks in Paris were just the "first shot" in a series of
attacks to be carried out in other European capitals, including Rome.
Italian media have been reporting on a four-minute video that threatens
to attack famous historical sites in Rome, including the Coliseum, the
Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Vatican. The video includes English
subtitles that warn:
"O Europeans, the Islamic State did not initiate a war against you, as
your governments and media try to make you believe. It is you who
started the transgression against us, and thus you deserve blame and you
will pay a great price.
"You will pay the price when your economies collapse. You will pay the
price when you sons are sent to wage war against us, and they return to
you as disabled amputees, or inside coffins, or mentally ill.
"You will pay the price as you are afraid of travelling to any land.
Rather you will pay the price as you walk on your streets, turning right
and left, fearing the Muslims. You will not feel secure even in your
"We will strike you in your homeland, and you will never be able to harm
"We have warned you that today we are in a new era, an era where the
[Islamic] State, its soldiers, and its sons are leaders not slaves. They
are a people who through the ages have not known defeat. The outcome of
their battles is concluded before they begin. Being killed—according to
their account—is a victory.
"This is where the secret lies. You fight a people who can never be
defeated. They either gain victory or are killed.
"O Crusaders, you have realized the threat of the Islamic State, but you
have not become aware of the cure, and you will not discover the cure
because there is no cure. If you fight it, it becomes tougher and
stronger. If you leave it alone, it grows and expands.
"We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women,
by the permission of Allah."
Back in Germany, more than 25,000 people showed up in the eastern German
city of Dresden on January 12 for a weekly gathering of a burgeoning
grassroots movement known as PEGIDA—short for "Patriotic Europeans
against the Islamization of the West."
In what was the largest turnout yet, marchers wore black armbands and
observed a minute of silence for "the victims of terrorism in Paris."
PEGIDA, which has been organizing so-called "evening walks" (Abendspaziergang)
through downtown Dresden every Monday evening since October, has seen
the number of protesters increase exponentially from week to week.
Around 500 people gathered at the first such event, while 18,000 people
attended a rally that was held on January 4.
PEGIDA offshoots are also emerging across Germany, including: Bavaria (BAGIDA),
Berlin (BAERGIDA), Cologne (KöGIDA), Hamburg (HAGIDA), Kassel (KAGIDA),
Leipzig (LEGIDA), Rostock (ROGIDA), Südthüringen (SüGIDA) and Würzburg (WüGIDA).
On its Facebook page, PEGIDA wrote that the attack against Charlie Hebdo
in Paris confirmed its worst fears. It warned:
"The Islamists who PEGIDA has been warning about for 12 weeks showed
France that they are incapable of democracy and rather look to violence
and death as an answer! Our politicians want us to believe the opposite.
Must such a tragedy happen here in Germany first???"
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone
Institute. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.