German officials say one of their worst fears about Muslim refugees from the Middle East is now playing out across the country.
Thousands of Islamic migrants are pouring into Germany each day, and many of them are ending up in mosques frequented by radicals. Federal officials told the Wall Street Journal on Saturday they know of at least 100 instances in which Islamists have approached migrants.
“They start by saying, ‘We will help you live your faith,'” Torsten Voss, the head of the German domestic intelligence agency’s Hamburg branch, told the newspaper Saturday. “The Islamist area comes later – that is, of course, their goal.”
Authorities point to Berlin’s Ibrahim Al Khalil mosque as an example of where migrants have arrived at a location known for radicalism. “Several hundreds” arrived for last Friday’s weekly prayers.
A 27-year-old Syrian named Ali Kafri told the paper his obligations as a Muslim trump any concerns over radical preachers.
“We come here to do our Islamic duty. We don’t care if it’s a Salafi or a Muslim Brotherhood mosque,” Kafri said.
Officials in Berlin handed out a 16-page pamphlet in early November warning migrant-shelter workers of the threat posed by three mosques which may seek to radicalize refugees. Adnouf Nazir, the chairman of the Al Khalil mosque, denied ties to Islamic extremism.
“We want to live in peace. It can be that some people have other thoughts, but that doesn’t mean that we are responsible for this,” Nazir told the Journal.
Helmut Albert, the top domestic intelligence official in the state of Saarland, told the newspaper mosques are seeing an uptick of 50 to 200 per attendees per week. That number will only continue to rise. Roughly 1 million refugees will have arrived by the end of the year and another 850,000 are expected in 2016.
“We’re watching to see whether, over time, the refugees start going there not only because the sermons are in Arabic but because they’ve joined the movement,” Albert said.