Social Democrats leader and German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has called for tougher measures against Islamist trends in Germany. His demands come just weeks after the “Islamic State”-claimed terror attack in Berlin.
In an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said that “Salafist mosques must be banned, communities dissolved, and the preachers should be expelled as soon as possible.”
“Those who encourage for violence do not enjoy the protection of religious freedom,” the Social Democrat (SPD) leader added, stressing that he had “zero tolerance” in combating Islamism.
Radical Islamism is regarded as the fastest-growing extremist movement in Germany. Its followers are convinced that Islam and modernity can not be reconciled.
“If we are serious about the fight against Islamism and terrorism, then it must also be a cultural fight,” Gabriel told Spiegel.
This means strengthening the cohesion of society and ensuring that “urban areas are not neglected, villages are not degenerate and people are not becoming more and more radicalized,” the vice chancellor added.
Half of the followers of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) who have travelled to Syria, are Germans, often with German parents, Gabriel said.
Berlin IS attack
The vice chancellor’s calls for tighter measures against Islamists come just weeks after Berlin was victim to an IS-claimed terror attack. Twelve people were killed and almost 50 were wounded after IS-sympathizer Anis Amri rammed a truck into a Berlin Christmas market.
Merkel on Terror
During his time in Germany, Amri, a Tunisian refugee, is believed to have mingled in Islamist circles. He was also linked with Iraqi preacher Abu Walaa, who was arrested in November along with others for seeking to recruit fighters for IS.
Despite German authorities’ originally monitoring the 23-year-old, surveillance was dropped in September after it was determined he did not pose a security threat.
Amid the apparent intelligence failure, Merkel pledged in her new year’s speech to conduct a “comprehensive” analysis on everything that has gone wrong in combatting Islamist terror.
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