(/sites/default/files/uploads/2012/08/German-Muslims2.gif)Those wishful-thinking diehards who believe Europe will eventually come to its senses regarding its security interests and reverse its suicidal tolerance of militant Islamists in its midst received a ringing slap in the face earlier this month.
The latest occurrence indicating the Old World is sliding into a bloody nightmare of Islamist violence with little desire to defend itself comes this time from Germany where news reports announced that bin Laden’s former bodyguard, who was discovered residing in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), has been busy recruiting young Muslims for the jihad. It is also believed the 36-year-old native of Tunisia, identified in newspapers in accordance with German law only as Sami A., is responsible for having radicalized two members of the Dusseldorf terrorist cell.
An al-Qaeda affiliate, the Dusseldorf cell was broken up in April of 2011. Three Islamist cell members are currently on trial, charged with planning a bomb attack in Germany.
“We have clear indications that he [Sami A.] tried to radicalise young people with his intellectual assets,” said Ralf Jaeger, the socialist interior minister for NRW.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the news publication, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ), revealed last week that the former bin Laden employee and hardcore Salafist was actually planning to open his own mosque in Bochum, a city in NRW where he has lived the past eight years with his wife and three children. It was also WAZ investigators who revealed to the German public Sami A.’s presence in NRW and jihad recruitment activities.
The WAZ revelations, understandably, have sent shock waves across Germany. This is the country where some of the 9⁄11 suicide bombers lived and plotted their day of infamy against America. Due to this connection, many Germans are simply incredulous, as well as very embarrassed, that a bin Laden associate, who knew 9⁄11 plotters like Guantanamo prisoner Ramzi Binalshibh, was even in Germany let alone carrying on terrorist activities. WAZ states that Sami A. is “connected worldwide” to terrorist networks and also knew the terrorist who helped plan the synagogue attack on Tunisia’s Djerba island.
“In the terror scene, he is considered a bright light,” states WAZ. “Radical Islamists pay homage to him. For young people who seek direction, a person like Sami A. can be a fixture point.”
According to WAZ, Sami A. first came to Germany as a student in 1997. He travelled to Pakistan in 1999, remaining for seven months, staying also in an al-Qaeda guest house in Kandahar, where he met top al-Qaeda officials. In addition, Sami A. received 45 days of military training in an al-Qaeda camp. After returning to Germany, the al-Qaeda veteran resumed his studies, eventually moving to Bochum in 2005 to study electronics and take up jihadi activities. “The weapon,” WAZ reports, “with which he fights here (in Bochum) for the victory of radical Islam is his hero’s reputation.”
Not unexpectedly, the NRW branch of the German intelligence service responsible for keeping tabs on terrorists, the Verfassungsschutz (Germany’s FBI), is at pains to explain how a man who used to personally protect Osama bin Laden with a rocket propelled grenade launcher in Pakistan in 2000 could for years radicalise and recruit unimpeded young people for the jihad. All that a spokesman for the NRW Interior Ministry would say was that they had the dangerous Islamist in their sights since his move to Bochum.
What is perhaps even more embarrassing for the security agencies is that they apparently had no idea that Sami A. was intending to open his own mosque until a 61-year-old woman tipped them off. The former bin Laden bodyguard had set up a prayer house, also without officials knowing, in an empty building on a Bochumer street that he wanted to rebuild into a mosque, using a front man to do so. But the woman, who worked nights at a nearby residence for the mentally handicapped, informed police of, as one neighbor described them, “the Islamists who come out of the mosque sometime between midnight and two o’clock” and who were “unbearably loud.”
Bochum’s city administration did, however, try to have Sami A. deported in 2006. In March of that year an expulsion order was actually obtained against him. But an administrative court overturned the order “because of unreasonable hardships for Sami A. and his family,” although his wife and children have both Tunisian and German citizenship and his wife had lived in Tunisia from 1994 to 1999.
What must be maddening for Germans, though, is that the court did not doubt that Sami A. represented a potential terrorist threat, but still refused to have him deported. One official said, however, that the court based part of its refusal on the belief Sami A. may face torture if returned to Tunisia. But according to WAZ, the city had presented its case “so clumsily” that a rejection was the court’s only option. The matter is currently before a superior court.
The only option left for German authorities after the court decision was to somehow restrict Sami A.’s activities. He has had to report to the police every day including Sundays, but this obviously hasn’t worked. The Dusseldorfterrorist cell, according to German federal attorneyship, can thank him for recruiting two of its members.
Many Germans are probably left stunned by the fact that such a dangerous individual as Sami A., a former bin Laden bodyguard, was allowed, unknown to them, to romp about and carry on undisturbed his vicious campaign of terror and hatred that endangers them and their families. They have questions that have yet to be answered such as why was he ever allowed back into Germany after going to Afghanistan and who in the government is responsible? And where does the money come from that has supported him for so long? And was he ever in American hands?
Germans have worked hard since the Second World War to build a functioning, respected democracy and to be accepted as a member of the world community. To their credit, they have been successful in these efforts. But many ordinary Germans must regard the Sami A. case as a betrayal and weakening of that democracy and their efforts to make it work.
And not only a betrayal of German democracy. The Sami A. revelation will undoubtedly cause some Germans to believe that none of the mainstream political parties and their elites, including Germany’s ruling conservative party, are interested in protecting them and their families. They will now feel they are on their own. In defense and desperation against the growing Islamist danger and parallel society, some will undoubtedly seek options further to the political right to put a stop to the growing chaos in a country where even former bin Laden bodyguards are allowed to move around and devise terrorist plots freely.
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