A learned scholar of the ideology of Islam and former Homeland Security officer sees a dangerous trend unfolding in Germany as the number of Salafi Muslims is on the rise.
With the figure exceeding 12,000 for the first time, Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) is reporting a record number of Salafist Muslims in the country. Salafists adhere to a strict interpretation of Islam and comprise the single largest Islamic group within the country.
OneNewsNow spoke to Phil Haney, a founding member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He argues the most important point is to notice the upward trend.
"[Islamists] are penetrating right into the heart of Germany, [which] means they are already spread out all over the country," he observes.
The intelligence assessments reveal the number of Salafists in Germany is three times as high now as it was in 2011, and "the growth is particularly high in Berlin." According to Tagesspiegel,half of the Salafists in the capital city of Germany are considered violent Islamists.
Coincidentally, the most recent intelligence report comes on the heels of a terror cell plotting an attack on a Berlin synagogue. After a series of police raids, several suspected "radical" Islamists were arrested across the country.
Salafi is commonly interpreted as "radical," which Haney points out is wrong. Salafi actually means "original" – and Haney describes it as "going back to the way it was during Muhammad's time."
Salafist Muslims try to emulate Muhammad in every possible way, explains Haney: "[The ideology] is so reductively legalistic that they revert back to a 7th-century Arabian Peninsula lifestyle." And that, he warns, is a pro-Sharia lifestyle which is implemented by jihad.
The use of the term radical, he continues, "is a misnomer that doesn't help us understand [the ideology]" and, in fact, is a "misconception" and "misrepresentation" of Salafi Muslims.
"[Salafists] are actually as close to the real Islamists of Muhammad's time as anybody in the world," he tells OneNewsNow.
Haney isn't surprised that the BfV report reflects security officials are actually concerned about the growing numbers of Salafists in the country, especially since the government is not confident their numbers have reached a peak.
As those numbers continue to increase, a previous report disclosed that "Salafists want to establish a 'theocracy' according to their interpretation of the rules of sharia, one in which the liberal democratic order no longer applies" and both the "political and jihadi Salafists share the same basic ideology." As a result, adds Haney, one can assume the Salafists wish to establish an Islamic caliphate over the German state.
The 2017 report also reveals "the Salafist scene represents the essential recruitment field for Jihad, [and] almost without exception, all persons with a German connection who have joined the jihad were previously in contact with the Salafist scene." The focused effort on proselytizing and recruiting of refugees was noted in the report.
Beyond proselytizing and recruiting, Salafists create influence over the mosques, Haney indicates.
"If the mosques are not Salafi enough, or observant enough, then they co-opt the leadership and take it over," he explains – adding that people are influenced by intimidation and coercion and, as a result, become more and more Sharia-compliant.
"And that's the whole point," Haney points out: "To follow Sharia and subvert a nation from there."
The challenge, according to Haney, is how the country's leadership will respond to the constant rise of Salafi Muslims in the country. "[Still], it's a good thing that Germany knows the numbers, [as] it's better than not knowing them," he adds.
Haney contends the Western world is watching how Germany responds to the indicators of the emerging threat.
"As long as [German political and intelligence officials] continue to sit and watch the trend increase, observe it, but can't come up with a policy to address it, then there's only one inevitable conclusion: chaos, anarchy, and disorder," he predicts.
Haney is author of the book "See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government's Submission to Jihad."