Salafism – a form of fundamentalist Islam – is on the rise in Germany, according to a survey commissioned by German security services.
Clarion Project - which is committed to "challenging extremism [and] promoting dialogue," according to its website - says the reports shows that over the first half of 2015, the number of German Muslims identifying themselves as Salafists has risen 25%. In the past, this number has risen approximately 3% over six-month periods.
Though the numbers are still small, the rapid growth is attracting interest. In June of this year, 7,900 people are estimated to be Salafists, as opposed to 6,300 in January.
Salafism is a form of Islam that itself is roughly divided into three groups: Those who don't get involved in politics, those who do, and Jihadist Salafists. All three seek to return the practice of Islam to its original form as delineated by Muhammed 14 centuries ago. They are also all in favor of a global caliphate and sharia (Islamic) law.
Clarion notes that Salafists believe that democracy must be eradicated. ISIS (the Islamic State), al-Qaeda and most of the world’s Islamist terror organizations practice Salafist Islam.
Earlier this month, a court in Bosnia sentenced a Salafi preacher to seven years in prison for encouraging, organizing and recruiting volunteers for an ISIS group operating in Syria. In Syria, a militant Salafi organization known as Ahrar al-Sham has gained power of late in several regions in the country-at-unrest.
Back in Germany, hundreds of thousands of Middle East migrants have arrived in the country – and the Salafists there are reportedly aggressively recruiting among them. “We have in recent weeks increasingly seen attempts by Salafists to register as workers in refugee camps,” the head of Germany’s intelligence services recently said.
The country's BfV domestic intelligence agency regards the Salafist groups as a threat to German security. Despite this, and despite anti-West hatred preached in Salafi mosques, Salafists have free reign in the country. In 2014, it was reported that at least 25 schools across Hamburg had been infiltrated by Salafists and other fundamentalist Muslim groups, according to German media reports.