Number of Salafists in Germany has doubled since 2013
The number of Salafists in Germany has doubled in the last five years, the Interior Ministry said this week.
There are now around 11,000 people identified as Salafists by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany's domestic intelligence agency, Tagesspiegel reported on Wednesday.
The Interior Ministry later confirmed the figure, which represents a sharp increase since 2013, when the number was estimated at around 5,500.
Salafism is an ultra-conservative ideological branch of Sunni Islam which is associated with several jihadist terrorist groups, and is also widely practised in the Gulf States.
Last December, authorities had put the number of Salafists in Germany at around 10,800, which BfV head, Hans-Georg Maaßen, described as an “all-time high”.
With the number now at 11,000, Salafists make up roughly 0.22 per cent of Germany’s Muslim population, Deutsche Welle reported.
The recent increase of Salafism in Germany has been particularly noticeable in smaller states. In Hamburg, the Tagesspiegel reported, authorities have identified 798 Salafists, with 434 them classified as "jihadists."
Security experts told the newspaper that, while the number of Salafists continues to rise, the rate of growth is beginning to slow.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry reiterated the government’s promise to “continue and strengthen” preventative programmes against radicalisation.
One such programme is the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees’ radicalisation helpline, which the Interior Ministry is looking to bolster, DPA reported.