Berlin is increasingly becoming a centre of the Salafist scene, Tagesspiegel reported on Tuesday, based on data from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).
Whereas six years ago, 350 Salafists had been counted, now there are over 900. People in the scene considered to be prone to committing an act of violence have moreover quadrupled since 2011 – from 100 to a current figure of around 420 people.
On average, Salafists are 90 percent men with an average age of 40. The average age of female Salafists was 33.
Many of them have been involved in the scene for a longer period of time, the report found, as they are supported by a infrastructure consisting of mosques, clothing shops and grocery stores.
About half of the scene's members are German, of which a third are dual nationals.
Russians make up the largest foreign national group, followed by Turks, Syrians, Palestinians and Lebanese people. 16 of the 27 Salafists who arrived as asylum seekers in Berlin after 2014 are considered to be prone to commit an act of violence.
“Salafists promote hate and violence with their ideology. We will not tolerate that,” Berlin minister in charge of security, Andreas Geisel, told Tagesspiegel, adding that the city’s security authorities have been keeping a close eye on the scene.
“We will not let up in putting pressure on them with repressive and preventive measures,” Geisel said.
Fundamentalists who believe in returning to the original ways of Islam, Salafists adhere to a strict interpretation of the religion’s sacred texts and traditions. But not all are considered politically active or extremists.
“Salafism is considered to be the most dynamic Islamic movement in Germany as well as on an international level,” according to BfV.
From 3,800 Salafists nationwide in 2011 to a current figure of 10,300, the scene across Germany is growing quickly and fast approaching the 11,000-person mark, the report states.