The German capital is home to a growing number of followers of radical Islam and members of the extreme right, according to a new report.
The total number of Salafists in Berlin rose to 950 from 840 the previous year, Der Tagesspiegel reported Wednesday, citing an as-yet-unpublished report by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution Berlin.
The growing numbers in Berlin mirror a nation-wide pattern that saw the number of Salafists — who espouse a hardline interpretation of Islam, and in some cases embrace jihadist ideology — in Germany edge up to 10,800 in 2017 compared to 9,700 the previous year, according to an interior ministry report released last year.
In its report, the ministry described Germany’s Salafism scene as “the main recruiting source for jihad” despite the fact that “political Salafists usually refrain from using violence.” It also noted that analysis of recent terror attacks in Germany and in Europe showed that “jihadist activities are very often preceded by Salafist radicalization.”
Berlin has also seen a rise in adherents of the extreme right Reich Citizens’ Movement, which advocates for a return to Germany’s pre-World War II borders and rejects the legitimacy of the modern German state. The movement counts 500 Berlin adherents, up from 400 the year before, according to the Berlin report. Roughly 100 are classified as far-right extremists.
The number of violence-prone members of far-right groups stayed steady at 700, the report also found. Berlin’s chapter of the far-right National Democratic Party — the successor of the German Reich Party — did not see a rise in members either, with 230 adherents.
The far-left prisoner support group “Rote Hilfe,” meanwhile, bolstered its following to 1,450 members in Berlin, with 980 far-left activists deemed prone to violence overall, a slight increase compared to 2016, according to the report.