Germany’s Experience in Countering Islamist Radicalization

Dorle Hellmuth

The Catholic University of America

Dr. Hellmuth is Associate Professor of Politics at The Catholic University of America and serves as the academic director of the politics department’s parliamentary internship programs in Europe. Her book, Counterterrorism and the State (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), analyzes post-911 counterterrorism decision-making and responses in the United States, Germany, Great Britain, and France. Professor Hellmuth has briefed members of parliament, law enforcement, and government representatives on counterterrorism, national security, and defense issues. She is a non-resident fellow at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies and serves as a fellow at the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies (GIRDS). Her research and teaching covers world politics, particularly the study of transatlantic security, counterterrorism, counterradicalization, homeland security, European and general comparative politics, and American foreign policy. Professor Hellmuth has held appointments as Assistant Professor at American University’s School of International Service and as a Research Fellow at the National War College, National Defense University. She has been awarded fellowships and grants from the Earhart Foundation, the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, the Embassy of France, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

She is a 2016-2017 participant in AICGS’ project “A German-American Dialogue of the Next Generation: Global Responsibility, Joint Engagement,” sponsored by the Transatlantik-Programm der Bundesrepublik Deutschland aus Mitteln des European Recovery Program (ERP) des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi).

*An earlier version of this article was published in the January 2013 edition of West Point’s CTC Sentinel. The article has been updated to reflect new developments (including the 2012 domestic intelligence assessment, the Joint Counter Extremism and Terrorism Center, phone hotlines and counseling centers, the German Islam Conference, and Salafist association bans).  

In June 2013, the Federal Bureau for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV) introduced its yearly domestic intelligence report. Government officials stressed that Germany is increasingly threatened by political Salafists who often support violence or even terrorism. Based on the report, the number of Salafists in Germany has increased by almost 20 percent, from 3,800 in 2011 to 4,500 in 2012.[1] A few days earlier, Salafists attacked a TV news crew that was filming the Tauheed mosque in Offenbach.[2] This was only the second time that Salafists have resorted to public violence in Germany. One year before, in May 2012, German Salafists protested in the streets of Bonn and Solingen, after the Pro Nordrhein-Westfalen (Pro-NRW) citizens’ movement displayed pictures of the Prophet Muhammad. The protests left twenty-nine police officers injured and resulted in the arrests of 108 Salafists.[3] The clashes between police and Salafists were unprecedented in Germany.

Concern over violent Salafists in Germany has featured prominently in domestic intelligence assessments since 2010.[4] According to the BfV, violent Salafists are increasingly seeking to launch terrorist attacks in Germany, a country which after 9/11 mainly served as a logistics hub for foreign battlefields. In light of recent Salafist-inspired plots,[5] this article provides details on the country’s general approach to counterradicalization, and identifies some of the problems with coordinating counterradicalization programs at the federal level. It also offers insight on specific outreach and trust-building initiatives between the German authorities and the Salafist community.

The German Approach to Countering Salafi-Jihadi Activities

In contrast to the United Kingdom’s (UK) prior approach, representatives of the German state generally refuse to work with Islamist groups. Counterradicalization initiatives in Germany have been directed against all forms of radical Islamism, including both political and violent Salafists. Politicians and security services emphasize the need to distinguish between political Salafists—the majority of Salafist structures in Germany that mostly reject violence—and a small jihadist minority advocating violence in pursuit of Salafist goals.[6] Government officials also warn that these boundaries can be blurred as both violent and non-violent Salafists share the same ideological foundation. In other words, political da`wa (missionary) activities used to recruit followers and gain influence may serve as a dangerous breeding ground for violent Salafist radicalization.[7] In one example, the man who killed two U.S. troops at Frankfurt airport in March 2011—the first deadly jihadist terrorist attack on German soil—had established ties with radical Salafists through Facebook contacts and online media sharing sites, such as DawaFFM.[8]

Yet in contrast to the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark―all of which initiated concerted counterradicalization programs in response to the terrorist attacks in Spain and the UK and Prophet Muhammad cartoon riots in 2004 and 2005―Germany got off to a later start and also still does not have a national counterradicalization strategy.[9] Apart from an increasingly dynamic Salafist scene, critics note that a national strategy is all the more necessary in view of Germany’s unique federal structure.[10] Due to various restraints on federal executive power,[11] Germany’s sixteen states, and their respective sixteen interior ministries and domestic intelligence services, have autonomy vis-à-vis the Federal Ministry of the Interior (Bundesministerium des Inneren, BMI). In other words, counterradicalization programs are decided and implemented by the individual states and therefore differ from state to state. While counterradicalization is considered a mostly local, grassroots effort in neighboring countries as well—allowing programs to be tailored to specific regional or local contexts and be administered by those who know their communities best—Germany’s complex federal structure raises the question of how far program outcomes and experiences are communicated and shared beyond regional jurisdictions, as also noted in a recent report by the German Islam Conference (Deutsche Islam Konferenz, DIK).[12]

Moreover, Germany’s sixteen states have differed about the scope, objective, and timing of initiatives, such as whether domestic intelligence services—as opposed to migration and refugee offices—should be in charge of phone help lines and awareness programs or whether programs to exit extremist circles constitute a viable option. The state of Hamburg provides tangible assistance in the form of apartment rentals, vocational training, and job placement services to those who are looking to leave extremist circles. In some states, awareness outreach may only entail Muslim communities whereas in others they also include public schools, sports clubs, or state agencies, such as immigration services and prisons.[13] Berlin’s intelligence service uses theological arguments to counter extremist interpretations of the Qur’an, while other states will not engage in any theological debates.[14] In Brandenburg, the intelligence service in 2010 began convening “regional security dialogues” to educate the public on Islamist radicalization and extremism.[15] Other states got an early start: “Contact scouts” of the Hamburg police started meeting with imams as early as 2001 and have cultivated their network since.[16]

In view of this patchwork of state initiatives, the interior ministries have attempted to facilitate the nationwide coordination of counterradicalization programs and policies. Islamist extremism and―more recently―its Salafist tenets feature prominently on the agenda of the so-called Interior Minister Conference, which periodically brings together the interior ministers of the federal and state governments.[17] Coordination, however, remains politicized. For example, only the conservative-governed states supported the Chemnitz declaration of 2009, which stressed the need for exit programs.[18] At the June 2012 meeting, conservative interior ministers called for Muslims to take a greater stance against violent Salafists.[19] Federal and state governments are also working together as part of a BMI-led working group called the “prevention of Islamist extremism and terrorism.”[20]

Representing state and federal security services at the more tactical level, the Joint Counterterrorism Center (Gemeinsames Terror-Abwehr Zentrum, GTAZ) added a new working group dealing exclusively with counterradicalization in December 2009. It is specifically tasked with amassing federal and state counterradicalization initiatives, sharing experiences and best practices, and developing new policies.[21] Mostly serving as an exchange forum, it is the closest the law enforcement and domestic intelligence services of the federal government and the 16 states have come to coordinating their various counterradicalization programs. In November 2012, the BfV and the Federal Bureau of Criminal Investigation (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA) further announced the creation of a separate Joint Counter Extremism and Terrorism Center (Gemeinsames Extremismus- und Terrorismusabwehrzentrum, GETZ).[22] The GETZ focuses on analysis and information-sharing on foreign, left, and right-wing extremism, terrorism, espionage, and proliferation. Similar to the GTAZ platform design, working groups and weekly meetings bring together both federal and state security services at either BfV or BKA headquarters.[23] Still in its infancy, the GETZ got off to a slow start. Six German states initially boycotted the center, arguing they had not been consulted by the BMI about the nature of the new cooperative arrangement.[24]

Dialogue and Trust-Building Initiatives

German authorities have reached out to Muslim organizations and communities as part of various dialogue and trust-building initiatives. Some of these initiatives include:

The Prevention and Cooperation Clearing Point

To provide a comprehensive overview of past, ongoing, as well as future local projects involving government and Muslim institutions across Germany, the Prevention and Cooperation Clearing Point (Clearingstelle Präventionskooperation, CLS) was established in March 2008 at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, BAMF). There are many examples of cooperative or educational projects.[25]

Members of the police coach soccer clubs and offer bicycle training courses in Muslim and high-immigration neighborhoods. Law enforcement units seek to improve their intercultural communication skills in Berlin, Stuttgart, and Essen. In Düsseldorf, Muslim associations and police jointly developed a framework for “dialogue, peace, and integration.” The Recklinghausen police have identified Muslim leaders who can assist them in crisis situations. The CLS also maintains a public database of some 300 contacts, representing Muslim communities and the German government. Anyone with an idea for a new project can access the database to contact relevant parties and ask for CLS support.[26] A closer look at the database shows, however, that more than 70 percent represent government agencies. This suggests that the network, which is supposed to expand further, is in particular need of additional Muslim contacts.[27]

Supporting Vulnerable Individuals: Nationwide Phone Hotlines

Since July 2010, the BfV has been running the nationwide HATIF phone hotline, designed to help individuals break with their violent jihadist environment. HATIF is the Arabic word for phone and the German acronym stands for “leaving terrorism and Islamist fanaticism.”[28] Apart from individual consultations, exit program support may include filing paperwork with other bureaucracies, protecting against threats from relatives and supporters of the jihadist scene, schooling or vocational training placements, and housing and financial aid. However, very few people have utilized HATIF thus far.[29] Various states have voiced considerable criticism over whether domestic intelligence services, whose mandates focus on intelligence collection, should or can play a role with regard to these exit programs.[30]

In light of these reservations, it is important to note that the BAMF began offering a second crisis hotline, called Counseling Center Radicalization (Beratungsstelle Radikalisierung), in January 2012.[31] Similar to the HATIF service run by the BfV, this help line encourages family members, friends, relatives, and teachers to come forward about friends or relatives who have recently become radicalized. Perhaps not coincidentally, this was one of the first projects resulting from the new BMI-led Security Partnership Initiative between government and Muslim institutions created in June 2011.

While the BAMF-run Counseling Center Radicalization represents the central point of contact for individuals in need, it only provides initial advising and screening. Based on their geographic location and security relevance, cases are referred to four regional counseling centers. These are located in Berlin for northeastern Germany; Bremen for northern Germany; Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia for western Germany; and, most recently, in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg for southern Germany.[32] The most serious cases and those involving security risks, regardless of their location in Germany, are automatically transferred to the Hayat Counseling Center in Berlin. Developed and run by the ZDK Gesellschaft Demokratische Kultur gGmbH, the Hayat Center is unique as it combines criminological expertise and long-time experience with exit-assistance programs.[33]

The German Islam Conference      

Since Germany’s state and federal interior ministries refuse to work with Islamist groups, they have instead opted to create a permanent forum between moderate Muslim institutions and the German government. The periodic meetings of the DIK are attended by five Muslim organizations; representatives from federal, state, and local governments; and individuals.[34] Designed to improve Muslim integration in Germany, the conference was first initiated in 2006 and continued by the second Angela Merkel coalition government in 2009, albeit with a slightly different composition and more “actionable” agenda. For example, the second conference includes more local representatives from cities and municipalities but excludes one of the four major German Muslim organizations: The Central Council of Muslims in Germany. This group declined to participate, citing the lack of clear conference objectives, insufficient Muslim representation, and the sidelining of particular discussion topics, such as hostility toward Islam in Germany.[35] Conversely, the BMI has refused to work with a large Islamic umbrella organization, the Council on Islam, because it represents the Milli Görüs association as one of its member congregations.[36]

As a result, the conference only represents about one half of all German Muslim congregations. In the context of the DIK’s plenary session in May 2013, critics further accused the BMI of “hijacking” the conference agenda, claiming that the focus had increasingly shifted from Muslim integration to domestic security concerns about radicalization. In light of these developments, it is not clear whether the DIK will continue after the Bundestag election in fall 2013.[37]

The Security Partnership Initiative

DIK’s agenda is arguably broad and deals with radicalization prevention as one of many topics. In addition, discussions center on instituting Islamic religion classes in public schools, the education and training of imams, German society and values, and “Islamophobia.” To ensure a sufficient focus on counterradicalization, the BMI created the “Security Partnership Initiative – Together with Muslims for Security” (Initiative Sicherheitspartnerschaft Gemeinsam mit Muslimen für Sicherheit) in June 2011, an alliance between various federal and state security services and six Muslim organizations.[38] In contrast to the DIK, it is not a permanent institution, and its membership can change depending on the nature of the project at hand. Its exclusive focus is to prevent Islamist violence with the help of Muslim communities. Community involvement is considered instrumental as community members are often the first to notice radicalization signs and are also better equipped to counter these trends by means of their religious and cultural expertise. The working group “trust” is afforded a key role as part of the initiative. It is much smaller in size, bringing together only a few select security services, in addition to the Central Council of Muslims in Germany and the Turkish Islamic Union for Religious Affairs. While trust-building initiatives are generally drawn up behind closed doors, one of the group’s best known projects involves the recent creation of the Counseling Center Radicalization at the BAMF.

Security Partnership membership, however, has declined significantly. Four of the six participating Muslim associations quit the Security Partnership Initiative in late August 2012 over a controversy involving the “Missing” poster campaign.[39] The posters, intended for Muslim neighborhoods in Berlin, Hamburg, and Bonn, told the fictional story of parents who lost their children to religious fanatics and terrorist groups. They were designed to encourage those with similar experiences to call the BAMF counterradicalization hotline.

Opposed to the campaign, Muslim organizations complained that their feedback and critiques were not heard due to the BMI officials’ unilateral agenda-setting and decision-making approach. The latter responded that their feedback was invited, as were the posters approved by the six Muslim associations before going public.[40] In the meantime, the poster campaign slowly petered out as the posters were never put up in any city neighborhoods.[41] Since fall 2012, the Security Partnership Initiative has listed the Alevi Community in Germany as their only Muslim partner.

Keeping a Close Watch: Raids, Bans, and Deportations

The assumed connection between political Salafist organizations and Salafist-inspired radicalization has also led to the closure of several community centers and mosques since 2001. Moreover, in mid-June 2012, the first Salafist association, Millatu Ibrahim, was prohibited after authorities raided eighty Salafist meeting places in seven different states simultaneously. According to the BMI, Millatu Ibrahim called on Muslims to actively fight Germany’s constitutional order, praised the violent May 2012 clashes in Solingen and Bonn in various online videos, and encouraged additional violent acts.[42] In response to the ban, Millatu Ibrahim leader Denis Cuspert declared Germany a battle zone and called for jihad on German soil.[43] Other bans followed amid raids in March 2013,[44] when the BMI concluded prohibition proceedings for DawaFFM, an online sharing site for Salafist videos and literature—of both political and violent nature—and networking.[45] Two other Salafist associations, the Islamist Audios and An-Nussrah, were also banned.

In addition, the BMI has been spearheading an effort to prohibit The True Religion (Die Wahre Religion), an internet platform seeking to “expand da`wa activities in Germany” by means of information media, workshops, and seminars.[46] Another Salafist association, the Invitation to Paradise (Einladung zum Paradies e.V.), was subject to a 2010 BMI investigation that included raids at various locations in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. Considered an influential platform for spreading Salafist ideology via seminars, preachers, literature, social media, and online videos, the raids led to the association’s voluntary dissolution in August. Pierre Vogel, the most prominent preacher associated with this organization, has since left for Egypt.

While these closures and bans enable security services to target association finances, they are also controversial, because it becomes harder to gather intelligence on extremist Salafists. Critics also argue that this does not address the root of the problem, as most extremists do not even organize or might simply decide to join foreign outlets. In addition, their videos are still available on YouTube and similar websites.[47]

The states have initiated deportations of foreign Salafist extremists whenever possible. They have also confiscated passports or required regular check-ins with the police to prevent German citizens, suspected of violent Salafist tendencies, from leaving for foreign terrorist camps.[48] According to the BfV, at least seventy individuals “with a German connection”[49] have trained in Islamist terror camps since the early 1990s, and German officials fear that an additional 185 extremists might either have obtained or still seek paramilitary training.

The Road Ahead

It is difficult to assess the effectiveness of Germany’s various local, state, and federal counterradicalization measures and initiatives, because many of them have only been operational for a few years. Yet Germany’s federal structure surely complicates coordination and information-sharing on counterradicalization programs. It is not clear in how far the GTAZ and the new GETZ are sufficient in providing for a coordinated approach among security services. The two platforms also do not account for non-GTAZ/GETZ agencies or non-governmental organizations involved in counterradicalization efforts.

These are supposed to be tracked by the BAMF-led CLS, which is looking to better coordinate and network activities involving state and non-state actors, including Muslim communities and mosques. Nevertheless, it is not clear how and why CLS projects were or are successful. Also unclear is how far Germany’s Muslims are represented by the Muslim contacts in the CLS database.

While the overall abundance of projects is laudable, Germany still does not have a national strategy that addresses counterradicalization efforts. Even though Germany does not have a tradition of issuing security strategies, a strategic framework would not only be useful to boost coordination, but it would also help ensure that the best counterradicalization practices can be identified, cultivated, and shared across local and state borders.


AGI Non-Resident Fellow Dr. Dorle Hellmuth is an Assistant Professor of Politics at The Catholic University of America. At CUA, she teaches courses on European Politics, Homeland Security, Counterterrorism, Transatlantic Security, and Comparative Politics. Dr. Hellmuth also held an appointment as a research fellow at the National War College/National Defense University for more than five years.

[1] Bundesministerium des Inneren, “Verfassungsschutzbericht 2012,” Pressemitteilung, June 10, 2013, available at (accessed August 1, 2013).

[2] “Islamisten greifen Journalisten an – drei Verletzte,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, June 10, 2013.

[3] Florian Flade and Martin Lutz, “Das unheimliche Netz der Salafisten,” Die Welt, June 6, 2012; Charles Hawley, “Salafists and Right-Wing Populists Battle in Bonn,” Spiegel Online, July 5, 2012. The far-right Pro-NRW party is only active in North Rhine-Westphalia and registered 2,100 members in 2011. Pro-NRW had collected some 400 drawings as part of a cartoon contest designed to critique Islam and display the “winning” and most provocative pictures in front of mosques and other Muslim venues. The cartoon contest, scheduled ahead of state parliamentary elections in North Rhine-Westphalia in the hopes that it would boost the Pro NRW’s votes, was initially cancelled by state authorities but subsequently re-authorized by the courts. Major German Muslim organizations, such as the Central Council of Muslims, condemned the subsequent violence. In October 2012, a district court in Bonn found one of the Salafist protesters, a Turkish citizen born and raised in Germany, guilty of seriously injuring two policemen, sentencing him to six years in prison. Due to the severity of his jail term, the man will likely be deported to Turkey before the end of his sentence. “Salafist für Messerangriff auf Polizisten verurteilt,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, October 20, 2012. In March 2013, four Salafists were arrested and subsequently charged with the attempted murder of the Pro-NRW party chair, Markus Beisicht. One of the men is also suspected of staging the Bonn train bombing in December 2012. “Polizei vereitelt Mordanschlaf von Islamisten auf “Pro NRW” Chef,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, March 14, 2013, and “Indiz blaue Tasche,” Der Spiegel, May, 27, 2013.

[4] Bundesministerium des Innern, Verfassungsschutzbericht 2011, June 2012, available at (accessed August1, 2013). The report distinguishes between Salafists, al-Qa’ida and franchises, and regional jihadist groups.

[5] High-profile Salafist-inspired plots in Germany include: the 2007 bomb plot of the Sauerland group; the 2011 lone wolf attack against US troops at Frankfurt airport; the thwarted 2011 bomb plans of the Düsseldorf cell; and the recent attempted Bonn train bombings which took place in December 2012. For further information on terrorist plots in Germany, see also Sajjan Gohel, “Germany Increasingly a Center for Terrorism in Europe,” CTC Sentinel 4:8 (2011).

[6] In 2012, the BfV considered about 150 of the 3,800 Salafists violent. Critics note the numbers of Salafists residing in Germany could be as high as 10,000. See “Koran Study,” The Economist, April 21, 2012.

[7] See, for example, Hunert Gude, Souad Mekhennet, and Christoph Scheuermann, “The Missionary Zeal of Germany’s Salafists,” Spiegel Online, April 24, 2012.

[8] Matthias Bartsch, Matthias Gebauer and Yassin Musharbash, “The Radical Islamist Roots of the Frankfurt Attack,” Spiegel Online, March 3, 2011.

[9] On national counterradicalization strategies in other European countries, see James Brandon and Lorenzo Vidino, “European Experiences in Counterradicalization,” CTC Sentinel 5:6 (2012).

[10] See, for example, Uwe Schünemann, “Die dschihadistische Herausforderung,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, August 18, 2010.

[11] To eradicate centralized Nazi structures for all time, the Constitutional Council in 1948 combined executive power-sharing with the territorial fragmentation of powers to the states.

[12] Deutsche Islam Konferenz, Zwischenbericht über die Arbeit der Arbeitsgruppe “Präventionsarbeit mit Jugendlichen,” April 19, 2012, p. 3.

[13] Frank Pergande, “Reiseziel Pakistan,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, December 8, 2009.

[14] “Radikale Entlarven,” Tageszeitung, February 10, 2011.

[15] Astrid Geisler, “Wie Bin Laden nach Prenzlau kam,” Tageszeitung, July 5, 2010.

[16] Peter Carstens, “Auf einen Tee mit dem Imam,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, June 25, 2011.

[17] States take turns in presiding over the conference. While the IMK-meetings are also attended by the federal Interior Minister, he lacks veto powers.

[18] Daniel Schultz, “Mit Broschüren gegen Terrorismus,” Tageszeitung, October 21, 2009.

[19] Thomas Steinmann, “Muslime sollen Salafisten isolieren,” Financial Times Deutschland, June 1, 2012.

[20] Bundesministerium des Inneren, Zusammen in Deutschland, March 20, 2009.

[21] “Abwehr im Innern,” Spiegel, November 30, 2009.

[22] Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, “Presseinformation des Bundesamtes für Verfassungsschutz zum Start des Gemeinsamen Extremismus- und Terrorismusabwehrzentrums zur Bekämpfung des Rechtsextremismus/-terrorismus, des Linksextremismus/-terrorismus des Ausländerextremismus/-terrorismus und der Spionage/Proliferation (GETZ),” November 15, 2012, available at (accessed August 1, 2013).

[23] For more details on the GETZ, see Deutscher Bundestag, “Antwort der Bundesregierung,” Drucksache 17/11857, 17. Wahlperiode, December 12, 2012.

[24] Johann Tischewski und Christian Unger, “Länder blockieren Anti-Terror-Zentrale,” Hamburger Abendblatt, November 16, 2012. With the exception of Bavaria, the states were also opposed to creating GETZ headquarters in Cologne and Meckenheim. Instead, they proposed consolidating the GETZ with the Berlin-based GTAZ, an approach that was subsequently rejected by the BMI. For more details, see Ständige Konferenz der Innenminister und –senatoren der Länder, “Sammlung der zur Veröffentlichung freigegebenen Beschlüsse der 196. Sitzung der Ständigen Konferenz der Innenminister und –senatoren der Länder,” December 18, 2012. The GETZ was built on the foundation of the Joint Center for Countering Right-Wing Extremism (Gemeinsamen Abwehrzentrum Rechtsextremismus, GAR), which was stood up in December 2011.

[25] For a list of 79 projects, see Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, “Clearingstelle: Suche nach Projekten,” available at (accessed August 1, 2013).

[26] The CLS further helps educate security services, provide experts for dialogue events, and distribute information.

[27] Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, “Clearingstelle: Suche nach Ansprechpartnern,” available at (accessed August 1, 2013).

[28] Heraus Aus Terrorismus und Islamistischem Fanatismus.

[29] Interviewee 3, Germany, June 2013.

[30] Markus Wehner, “Alle aussteigen, bitte!” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, July 25, 2010.

[31] “Regierung startet Beratungsnetz,” Tageszeitung, February 2, 2012.

[32] Interviewees 3 and 4, Germany, June 2013.

[33] Interviewee 5, phone interview, July 2013; for details on the Hayat Counseling Center, see

[34] The Deutsche Islam Konferenz is located at  (accessed August 2, 2013). The five organizations include: Alevi Community in Germany, Islamic Community of the Bosnians in Germany, Association of Islamic Cultural Centers, Central Council of the Moroccans in Germany, and the Turkish Islamic Union for Religious Affairs. In addition, the secular association of the Turkish Community of Germany has joined the conference. Similar arrangements also exist at the state level, as exemplified by the Berlin “Islam Forum.” See Senatsverwaltung für Inneres und Sport, Berliner Verfassungsschutz, Rede zum Symposium “Islamismus: Prävention und Deradikalisierung,” November 22, 2010, available at; “Wir versuchen, die Imame überall einzubeziehen,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, July 2, 2011.

[35] “Islamkonferenz mit neuen Mitgliedern,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, March 5, 2010; Olivia Schoeller, “Zentralrat boykottiert Islamkonferenz,” Berliner Zeitung, May 14, 2010.

[36] In 2010, German authorities investigated Milli Görüs’ leadership on suspicion of fraud and money laundering. The charges were later dropped. The association’s activities continue to be monitored by domestic intelligence services. Deutsche Islamkonferenz, “Teilnehmer des Plenums,” (accessed August 6, 2013).

[37] Günther Lachmann, “Integration nicht mit Sicherheit vermischen,” Die Welt, May 8, 2013; Ulrich Schmid, “Ein schwer ramponierter Dialog,” Neue Zürcher Zeitung, May 10, 2013.

[39] The four organizations include the Turkish Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, the Association of Islamic Culture Centers, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, and the Islamic Community of the Bosnians in Germany. See “Muslimische Verbände wenden sich von Friedrich ab,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, August, 31, 2012.

[40] Initiative Sicherheitspartnerschaft, “Bundesinnenminister hält an Initiative fest,” August 31, 2012, available at (accessed August 2, 2013).

[41] Interviewees 3 and 4, Germany, June 2013. However, the posters were posted online and in various youth magazines, see Christiane Hoffmann, “Innenminister Friedrich vergrätzt die muslimischen Verbände,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, August 30, 2012.

[42] Bundesministerium des Inneren, “Salafisten: Razzia und Vereinsverbot,” Pressemitteilung, June 14, 2012, available at

(accessed August 4, 2013).

[43] Florian Flade, Kristian Frigelj, and Martin Lutz, “Das Ende des Solinger Kalifats,” Die Welt, June 15, 2012; “Salafisten drohen mit Anschlägen,”, September 3, 2012.

[44] Susanne Höll, “Razzia bei Salafisten,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 14, 2013.

[45] Flade et al., “Das Ende des Solinger Kalifats.”

[46] Verfassungsschutzbericht 2011, p. 219.

[47] Frank Jansen, “Krieg Im heiligen,” Der Tagesspiegel, July 1, 2012.

[48] Wehner, “Alle aussteigen bitte;” Gude et al., “Missionary Zeal;” “Terrorverdächtiger reiste ungehindert aus,” Der Tagesspiegel, September 14, 2011.

[49] Individuals with a German connection are those who have lived or are currently residing in Germany, German citizens with migratory backgrounds, and Muslim converts. See Verfassungsschutzbericht 2011, p. 197.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.