BERLIN (Reuters) – German authorities raided several locations in Berlin and Brandenburg on Thursday after banning a Berlin-based Salafist Muslim group, police said.
Berlin’s Senate Department of the Interior said on Thursday it had banned the “jihadist-Salafist” association Jama’atu Berlin, also known as Tauhid Berlin, and that police had carried out the raids, without giving further details.
The Tagesspiegel reported that the group glorifies the fight against “Islamic State” on the Internet and calls for the killing of Jews, adding that criminal cases are pending against some of its members.
The newspaper added that the group had contact with Anis Amri, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker with Islamist ties who hijacked a truck in 2016 and drove it into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people.
Salafists – devout Sunni Muslims – include peaceful private citizens, activists seeking the implementation of Sharia law, and militants who want to use violence to establish a state they believe represents true Islam.
The number of Salafists in Germany has risen to an all-time high of 12,150 in 2019, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution announced in its annual report last year, categorizing them as “Islamist extremists.”
The number of Salafists has more than tripled since 2011, it said, and the Salafist scene in Germany is in a consolidation phase, with supporters keeping a low profile.