The article below from Die Welt (also translated by Hermes) describes the recent concentration of Islamic radicals and terrorists in the state of Hesse:
Hesse turning into a center for radical Salafists
An ever increasing number of radical Islamists gather in Hesse. A prominent figure among them is Mohamed Mahmoud, who openly incites against Germany. It seems that the authorities have their hands tied. Florian Flade reports.
“Allah willing we will conquer Rome! And them St. Peter’s square will be the place where punishments in the name of Allah will be carried out,” The man with the military vest and the traditional Pashtun wool cap says.
“Explain to your children what jihad is! Tell them about Guantánamo, about Gaza, tell them that! So they will grow up with hatred towards the Kuffar (unbelievers)”, says the somewhat bull-like preacher with shoulder-length curly haired, thus sharpening his audience’s mood.
One might think that sermons such as these come from the mountains of Afghanistan. But the man who preaches them lives in the middle of Germany, specifically in the Hessian Odenwald. His name is Mohamed Mahmoud, but he calls himself “Abu Usama al-Gharib.” Security authorities see in the 26-year-old Austrian a spiritual arsonist, a pioneer of Islamic terror.
Mahmoud preaches a form of radical Islam which glorifies jihad against “infidels”, and openly calls Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden a hero.
Intelligence agencies and politicians are alarmed
Intelligence agencies and politicians are alarmed that radical Islamist preachers like Mahmoud have recently increased in numbers in Hesse. Groups and individuals from Islamic circles are establishing an increasingly wide net Between Kassel and Darmstadt.
“I observe with great concern that Hesse — and especially the Rhine-Main region — continues to grow as a center for Salafists in Germany,” Hesse’s Interior Minister Boris Rhein (CDU) told Welt Online.
What confirms this trend is that militant Salafists from all over the country are establishing their residence in Hesse or at least are more often to be found there, the Minister said. “In the Rhine-Main region an important Salafist missionary network has been established.”
When domestic intelligence talks about the radicalization of Islamists in Hesse, they refer particularly to the jihadist preacher Mohamed Mahmoud. He is currently considered the most radical protagonists among the Salafists in Hesse.
Contact with Islamists in Berlin
In September 2011, the self-confessed Taliban sympathizer was released from a prison in Vienna after four years in jail on charges of forming and promoting a terrorist organization. Just a short time later, Mahmoud, who is considered a pioneer of German jihadist propaganda on the Internet, settled in Berlin.
Once in the German capital, he made contacts with like-minded Islamists, including the former rapper Denis Cuspert (formerly known as “Deso Dogg”).
Mahmoud’s stay in Berlin did not last long. Security authorities immediately put the 26-year-old under surveillance, and the local Muslim community also responded in not very effusive way, which was different from Mahmoud’s expectations. After only a few weeks the Austrian moved to Solingen in North Rhine-Westphalia and established himself there as the Imam of a backyard mosque with a bad reputation.
As the media interest in the local Islamic community grew and politicians and citizens began to protest against ongoing Islamist activities, Mahmoud shifted his residence in late February from Solingen to the southern state of Hesse. Since then he is reported to be living in the small town of Erbach in Odenwald, about 70 kilometers south of Frankfurt.
The reason for moving to the provincial city of roughly 13,000 inhabitants was probably not only the growing public protest in Solingen, but also his marriage to a woman living in Erbach. According to information from Welt Online, Mohamed Mahmoud has lived since the beginning of the year together with the Muslim woman Miranda K. This German convert has been active in Salafist circles and also operates an Islamist website.
The hate preacher has been married for two months
The preacher Mahmoud and the internet activist Miranda K. have been now married for more than two months — under Islamic, not German law. Even without the activities of Mohamed Mahmoud, the security forces of Hesse have lots of issues to be concerned about. The radical Islamic networks, especially those around Frankfurt, are very much alive these days. During the current Quran distribution campaign, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution has in recent weeks alone counted over 70 information booths in different cities in Hesse.
Both in the wider area of Frankfurt-Offenbach, and also in Kassel — Northern Hessian Islamist groups have been active for years, and their activities are being closely watched by the security forces. One of the Salafist groups is “DawaFMM”, in Frankfurt am Main, which is the second largest Salafistist missionary network in Germany. The members of DawaFFM, many of them German converts, are considered by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as extremist, and partly classified as those advocating for jihad. The group and its related youth division regularly organize football matches and seminars on Islam, and also advocate on the Internet for an ultra-conservative Islam. This missionary work found fertile soil in the Rhine-Main area. “The environment is favorable there, where many German immigrants and those with failed schooling and professional careers live,” a spokesman for the Hessian Office for the Protection of the Constitution told Welt Online.
With their simple world view of good and evil, with the sense of community and the promise of paradise, Salafists offer a supposed alternative — determined by the Koran and the role model of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Kosovar Arid U. also belonged to these circles
According to security forces, it was through contacts with “DawaFMM” that the Kosovar Arid U. from Frankfurt-Sossenheim became involved with radical Islamic ideologies. On March 4, 2011 the then 21-year-old shot two U.S. soldiers to death at Frankfurt airport.
During the weeks before his murderous act, Arid U. had been radicalized through the Internet. He was also apparently in contact with members of “DawaFFM” through Facebook. The group “DawaFFM” and its leading figure, the preacher Sheikh Abdellatif R., appeared in virtually all headlines nationwide after the crimes of Arid U. The Frankfurt Salafis tried then to limit the possible damage and restrained themselves on the propaganda front. Everything got quiet around “DawaFFM.” But since the launch of the project “Read!”, the Salafists of Frankfurt have been active again for some time now.
In March the members of “DawaFFM” distributed some hundreds of free Korans to passersby within a few hours at Frankfurt’s Zeil shopping street.
Meanwhile, the city administration prohibited the Islamists from distributing the Korans at information stands on the pedestrian zones, and more communities in Hesse strengthened the conditions and rules for such distribution. “We must take steps against the efforts of the Salafists, on one hand with the whole force of the law, and on the other with a wide range of preventive measures, as the Salafist propaganda is clearly a fertile ground for violence,” Interior Minister Rhein said. “Salafists abuse our constitutionally-guaranteed right to religious freedom for the dissemination of their dangerous extremist ideology.”
Loss of the ‘right to freedom of movement’?
In addition to the work of prevention and surveillance in particular in mosques, schools, sports clubs, and also in detention centers, the Interior Ministry of Hesse now finds itself increasingly forced to take measures against Islamist forces. According to an initiative from the authorities in Berlin, it is currently being analyzed whether the deportation of the extremist preacher Mohamed Mahmoud could be legally justified.
In the Schengen area EU citizens are free to settle where they want. But if a person is proved to be a source of danger, the so-called “loss of the right to freedom of movement” is implemented. This means that Mohamed Mahmoud could no longer reside in the Federal Republic.
The most radical preacher of Hesse was unimpressed by the announced measures. “The enemies of Allah can’t stop that. I wander all over the country as I fancy. And if they take away my documents, then I go to another country and I stroll where I want […] And those will then argue with the ones here because of having sent me to their country [sic].”
Transcript of the video:
|00:02||The person you see here is Joachim C|
|00:04||from Bonn, a self-confessed terrorist|
|00:06||who encourages German Muslims to|
|00:08||commit terrorist acts. Among the|
|00:10||suitable targets, he cites discos,|
|00:12||restaurants, malls and trains. He has|
|00:14||been living for some years at the|
|00:16||borderline between Afghanistan and|
|00:18||Pakistan, in the region of Waziristan,|
|00:20||and he is a member of the terrorist group|
|00:22||’Islamic Movement Uzbekistan’|
|00:24||[ terrorist speaking ] ‘Among them, for example,|
|00:26||the Germans, the so-called ‘nation of the poets|
|00:28||and thinkers’, it is curious how the word ‘terrorist’|
|00:31||has spread in recent times in form of a ‘whisper’|
|00:34||but without being whispered…|
|00:36||According to security experts it cannot|
|00:39||be ruled out that radicalized ones felt|
|00:42||motivated to commit terror acts thanks|
|00:44||to these propaganda videos.|