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Holidays a high season for Islamist recruitment

The Local · 27 Dec 2010, 13:47

Published: 27 Dec 2010 13:47 GMT+01:00

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The period between Christmas and New Year is often used by Islamists to attract new followers who fill their time during breaks from work or school by attending sermons and lectures, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday.

During the holidays, Islamists hold seminars and other events to “indoctrinate particularly young people with Salafist preachers,” an intelligence source from the North Rhine-Westphalia Office for the Protection of the Constitution told the paper.

“That is not a new development,” the source said.

Such seminars were particularly troubling “because they have the space and time to offer group education and exert extremist influence through often charismatic lecturers.”

Of particular concern are preachers from the Salafi community which supports a fundamentalist stream of Islam that aims to create a society modelled on the purported original community of the Prophet Mohammed.

The star of this scene is a former boxer called Pierre Vogel – also known as Abu Hamza – who pushes a strict interpretation of Islam but publicly condemns violence and terrorism.

A group connected to him, called “Invitation to Paradise” was raided by the police the week before last. On orders from Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, officers searched the group’s headquarters and also the homes of leading members for material that could provide a basis on which to ban the organisation.

Vogel, a regular preacher at the Al-Nur mosque in the Berlin district of Neukölln, has cancelled several recent events.

In the town of Elsdorf west of Cologne in North Rhine-Westphalia, a three-day “Islam education meeting” was held between Friday and Sunday. Authorities kept a close eye on it because the teachers at the seminars are considered radical preachers by intelligence agencies that monitor extremism.

Story continues below…

The meeting included such preachers Hassan Dabbagh from Leipzig and Mohamed Benhsaid from Bonn, both of whom authorities consider radical.

Two of the preachers recently faced a complaint – ultimately unsuccessful – by Munich prosecutors that their sermons had criminal associations.

The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:13 December 27, 2010 by munichiscool
Another example of useless article with no solid information.

"" officers searched the group¦#39;s headquarters and also the homes of leading members for material that could provide a basis on which to ban the organisation.""

No information that the officers found anything or not.

""" The star of this scene is a former boxer called Pierre Vogel ­ also known as Abu Hamza ­ who pushes a strict interpretation of Islam but publicly condemns violence and terrorism.""

What does this mean? Does the reporter want to say that " a strict interpretation of Islam == violence and terrorism"....

I think The local has nothing else to show to people these days.So thats always a good topic to keep people interesting. Find news on Integration , Muslim, religion and publish them. At least people like to read them :)
16:37 December 27, 2010 by KamiZ
I think the Islamists tell them Santa was a Muslim and they're making cartoons of him :D
17:43 December 27, 2010 by michael4096
@The Local

When do you take a holiday?

Whatever, as a loyal reader, I would like to thank you for keeping me informed of whatever is in the German news. I know that some find German news incipid, even boring - not even a hint of murder and mayhem on every corner - but I'm sure that I speak for many readers that we really do appreciate your efforts - and that boring is the way we would like it to stay - not only the Chinese consider 'living in interesting times' a curse.
19:34 December 27, 2010 by ahmdsamir
@ The local

What does this photo of muslims doing their prayers, with the topic of the article??

The only connection I see is that it emphasizes the misconception of all muslims are terrorists. I find that offensive
20:01 December 27, 2010 by blockhaus
Well, be offended then,sir...
20:43 December 27, 2010 by West_Indian
The signature at the bottom "The Local/DW", does it mean that part of the story was taken from DW-world.de (Deutsche Welle)? Cause if so, I found this article there http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5868476,00.html which plays a totally different tune that what we see here.
21:05 December 27, 2010 by Frenemy
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
21:40 December 27, 2010 by The Local Germany
@michael4096: Thank you for your comments. We work hard trying to keep people informed about what's going on in Germany and are grateful for the recognition.

@ahmdsamir: As the caption reads, the photo is of Hassan Dabbagh in Leipzig and is therefore relevant to the story.

@West_Indian: The Local has absolutely no association with Deutsche Welle and neither does this story.
21:51 December 27, 2010 by Twiceshy
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:07 December 27, 2010 by Frenemy
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:16 December 27, 2010 by storymann
Well,that ain't right,,damn sounds reasonable to me..what you all say????
23:31 December 27, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I, too, am somewhat bewildered by the point of this article, as it does have some disturbing undertones and is woefully short on facts. I'm also struck by a newfound zealousness on the part of The Local to censor. Usually these threads are verbal hate-fests driven by personal attacks. It's hard to imagine what Frenemy might have written to get censored, as he is one of the most consistently sane contributors here.
23:52 December 27, 2010 by wxman
In your view.
23:59 December 27, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Of course in my view. Who else's view would I be expressing? Besides, I don't have to agree with everything one says in order to be interested in his point of view, do I?
07:01 December 28, 2010 by Frenemy
Wow. I don't know how else to state certain statistic facts of contemporary geopolitics which have now twice been redacted without just cause. I honestly don't know how to make it more politically correct.

Anyway, just look at the demographics of most modern terrorists and you'll essentially understand the point I'm trying to make here.

(thanks for the vote of confidence Prufrock)
08:44 December 28, 2010 by West_Indian
@ Frenemy: Shame I did not get a peek at what you wrote Frenemy. Seeing that is was directly under my comment, was it directly related to what i posted?
09:31 December 28, 2010 by storymann
Prufroc,,like the way you summed the threads up ,verbal hate- fests driven by personal attacks,,how true....there have been a few I would have censored that they didn't.

Frenemy,,I really do not understand why your rant was removed,it would be nice if the Local would state the specific reason or language used for removal instead of that standard breach of terms ,my response to it was below it,, not a personal attack but a little sarcasm as to the point of the article.
09:57 December 28, 2010 by tallady
Radical..what are the parameters for this...Radical ,,as in lets blow something or someone up,or radical as in we must pray for change, I would be interested in what the authorities use to determine "radical".

also "Two of the preachers recently faced a complaint ­ ultimately unsuccessful ­ by Munich prosecutors that their sermons had criminal associations.",,I assume that not everyone agrees with what constitutes criminal associations,,when these strong terms are left up to the readers imagination anything is possible.
11:24 December 28, 2010 by Frenemy
From what I can surmise, my post was redacted due to the implied demographic relationship between Muslims and contemporary terrorists.

(Oops, I meant "violent Muslims who do not practice the true and peaceful version of Islam". Sorry)
13:59 December 28, 2010 by DinhoPilot

criminal association= drugs, corruption, weapons, gangs, pirates, politicians, lawyers, bankers, pimps, terrorists, prostitution, mercenaries, ninjas, etc... I guess that's the idea ^^


Stop spreading hate (also). People nowadays!
14:30 December 28, 2010 by Frenemy
@DinhoPilot: I pretty much detest everything you stand for, but your inclusion of ninjas in the above definition made me smile! ;-) Cheers!
15:17 December 28, 2010 by DinhoPilot

You cannot detest everything I stand e.g; love, peace, liberty, friendship, no racial bias, no exploration of kids, women, etc... I am no muslim and no hippie, tree huger.

I didn't understand what you meant.
16:13 December 28, 2010 by tallady
Thank you Dinhopilot,,that cleared up the mystery for me...but I think you could be a closet tree hugger.....
20:34 December 28, 2010 by wood artist
Like most comment threads on stories like this, things generally fall into one of two categories.

The first is the over-generalization that Muslim = terrorist. It is true that many recent attacks, and a lot of the big attacks, have been executed by Muslims, so it's easy to make that connection. In fact, it's arguably close to true that the major terrorism in the world is associated that way.

However, as a source of "proof" it's no more valid than saying Hitler, his cohorts, and the SS were all German, hence.... The fact is that it's never that simple, even though we might prefer it is. Terrorists are individuals, who may or may not share common traits, and may or may not match the stereotype. To my knowledge, none of the known members of the RAF were Muslims, yet they clearly terrorized Germany for a period of time.

The other common position is that reporting material like this is either prejudicial or inappropriately vague. It may well be vague, simply because it's based upon generalities and not specifics. That doesn't make the story automatically untrue. Is it prejudicial? Possibly, but as long as the reporters stick to the facts, they aren't contributing to that hysteria.

In short, if it is accurate that many (most?) terrorists are Muslim, and that the more radical elements of that religion openly support such activity, then I think we should all acknowledge that. It's tough to balance that against the freedoms we all value.

00:35 December 29, 2010 by DefJay
I've been on this website for about 10min. and already have I found two articles trying to state that Muslim/Islam is connected to violence and terrorism. Dear Local please give us some news that isn't so full of s*it. If s*it is what I'm looking for I'll just watch the major TV news channels.
01:25 December 29, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Tree hugger? Since when did being environmentally conscious become a pejorative? What the hell, never mind. We can all trace it back to Reagan. That said, the article in question is incredibly shoddy and inflammatory ersatz journalism.
01:50 December 29, 2010 by Frenemy

"Since when did being environmentally conscious become a pejorative?"

Since caring for the environment and anti-war/peaceniks linked up politically. In truth the two concepts have little to do with each other. I for one am very "pro-war" (read defending yourself) and pro-environment (eg. tank crews should replace depleted uranium rounds with tungsten).

No reason you can't kick ass and love mother earth simultaneously.... ;-)
02:17 December 29, 2010 by Prufrock2010
@ Frenemy

I get your point. I was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war, so I did my part as a social contributor. Defending one'sself is laudable. Unjustified warfare is not. Let's not conflate working for peace with weakness.
02:42 December 29, 2010 by Frenemy
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:30 December 29, 2010 by michael4096
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:26 December 29, 2010 by tallady
Takes a fanatic to know a fanatic... War is a business,making the rich richer and the poor less in number. Fighting for righteous ideals is as dead as my childhood,,fighting to protect oneself from harm thats another thing, enjoying it or getting some sort of substituted pleasure from it ..is sick
20:46 December 30, 2010 by tomjack
Well said Tallady
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