WASHINGTON – The German intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND, is expressing increasing worry over the prospect of terrorist attacks by homegrown Islamic extremists, given the significant rise in native Germans converting to Islam, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Experts say that some 100,000 Germans have converted to Islam. A number of them are known to have traveled to war zones in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere for terror training.
German Intelligence Chief Gerhard Schindler is sounding the alarm, suggesting that homegrown Islamist radicals could become domestic terrorists.
In an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, Schindler said that threats come wherever al-Qaida has set up training facilities.
“A particular threat stems from al-Qaida structures in Yemen,” Schindler said. “They want to bring jihad to Europe. Among other tactics, this involves the ‘lone wolf’ model, which involves individuals who are citizens of the targeted country and who go abroad for training. We know that this strategy is currently high on al-Qaida’s agenda, and we are accordingly attentive.”
Germany has been one of those countries whose citizens have traveled to Afghanistan for al-Qaida training, with the intention of returning to their homeland to wage jihad, if they’re not killed beforehand.
The number of German young people who have traveled to Afghanistan has alarmed security officials.
Germany and Spain recently have been the locations where authorities arrested al-Qaida suspects who were plotting attacks.
In Spain, for example, three al-Qaida suspects were arrested for allegedly plotting an airborne attack on a shopping mall near Gibraltar, which is British territory at the southernmost point of Spain.
As the German magazine Der Spiegel points out, German authorities had arrested four suspected al-Qaida members in Dusseldorf, suspected of planning to assassinate the former commander of German Special Forces, the Kommando Spezialkrafte, or KSK, and planning an attack on a U.S. Army base in the Bavarian town of Grafewohr.
Three of the four were native Germans who had converted to Islam and a fourth was a Moroccan national.
German officials then received confirmation from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency that the Moroccan, Abdeadim el-Kebir, had trained at an al-Qaida camp along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2010.
He was identified as the ringleader of what was termed the “Dusseldorfer Cell.” He allegedly was plotting to blow up German public buildings, train stations and airports. German officials now are using a guide on extremist Islam to help German citizens to recognize radical Islamists.
To date, German authorities have identified some 1,140 individuals living in Germany who likely could become Islamic terrorists.
A report issued by German officials points out that “intelligence analysis has found that converts are especially susceptible to radicalization.”
In the United States, there has been an uptick of terror incidents involving Islamic radicals who predominantly are Sunni Salafists.
According to a Rand Corporation report, the U.S. government has reported some 46 incidents between September 2001 and the end of 2009 of “domestic radicalization and recruitment to jihadist terrorism” involving 125 people.
About a quarter of the plots were identified with major international jihadist groups. A March 2010 Bipartisan Policy Center report also points out that an increasing number of Americans are involved in high-level operational roles in al-Qaida and other jihadist groups.
However, officials want to caution that it is a small number from a relatively small minority of Muslims in the U.S.
In addition, recent reports show that domestic U.S. terrorists are not Islamists at all. Experts say that a focus only on terrorism from American Muslims raises the possibility of leaving the public vulnerable to attacks from individuals who are not associated with American Muslims.
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