In a series of early morning raids Tuesday, German authorities executed more than 190 searches of homes, offices and mosques. The sweeping crackdown signals the dawn of a new era in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism.
Police launched the well-coordinated actions after the Federal Minister of the Interior banned a rapidly growing organization called True Religion, which is blamed for radicalizing youth throughout Germany and Western Europe.
True Religion operatives became a common sight in German cities, distributing copies of the Koran and urging a literal interpretation of the Islamic text. Their structure resembles that of several prominent cults from the past.
Minister Thomas de Maiziere told journalists that DWR (aka True Religion) is being banned under Section 17 of the Act Governing Private Associations. Under the law, the Islamic group can be banned for “opposing the constitutional order and the idea of international understanding”.
This is not the first time German authorities have used these laws to disband groups that promoted radical Islam and overthrow of Western governments.
Other groups have faced bans in the past: Millatu Ibrahim in 2012, DawaFFM and an-Nussrah in 2013, the Islamic State in 2014 and Tauhid Germany in 2015.
German law enforcement experts consider the bans essential given the expanding threat of radicalized Salafists within Germany’s own borders, and the increasing numbers of fighters from Germany who commit terrorist acts in the Middle East.
Intelligence services released figures in May showing that 820 jihadis left Germany for Syria and Iraq, with 140 of those killed in combat, 420 remaining in the Middle East fighting for ISIS, and the remainder returning to Germany.
These jaw-dropping figures reveal that some German mosques and migrant resettlement centers have served as ISIS recruiting grounds, just as critics alleged. It’s stunning to think that almost 1000 known terrorists committing atrocities on the battlefield for ISIS, were nurtured by the hapless German taxpayer.
What’s even more shocking is the revelation that several hundred ISIS fighters are returning to their “home” in Germany. Many of these soldiers are presumably hardened from their service in the field and well trained in the methods of guerrilla warfare. They serve as valuable recruiters, regaling young men with outlandish tales of battlefield heroics.
How can Germany claim to be our ally in the war against terror when they can’t even control ISIS within their own borders?
In taking this stand against the spread of radical groups, Germany joins a broadening coalition led by Russia under Vladimir Putin and the United States under President Trump.
Trump promised swift, decisive action against ISIS during the presidential campaign, and all signs are that he intends to deliver.
Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump have already spoken on the telephone, with the Russian leader congratulating President Trump on his win, and expressing eagerness to work together in solving some of the most pressing military conflicts. The world is watching to see how the two superpowers will handle Syria, which holds tremendous implications for the entire region.
Trump has indicated on multiple occasions that he would consider Russia a valuable ally in the war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Perhaps this new alliance will demonstrate the resolve and deal-making that both men are famous for, succeeding where years of tepid negotiations have failed.