News & Politics

Germany Half-Heartedly Cracks Down on Islamist Extremism

Federal Minister of Family Affairs Katarina Barley Presentation of National Action Plan against Racism, Berlin, Germany - 14 Jun 2017 (Rex Features via AP Images)

When I read this, I actually thought this was a sign that Germany would finally take the war on Islamist extremism seriously:

Germany’s Family and Interior Ministries have announced a new national action plan against racism. In tackling extremism, some 100 million euros is to be specifically invested in preventing Islamist radicalization.

Newly-appointed Family and Youth Minister Katarina Barley (SPD) on Wednesday called to further strengthen efforts to prevent all forms of extremism, calling for a federal law on the prevention of extremism to stabilize projects and initiatives against, for example, right-wing extremism.

That’s before I read this paragraph, however:

In the crackdown on Islamist radicalization, Barley rejected demands made earlier this month, however, to allow the surveillance of minors who may be involved in Islamist groups.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said earlier that “minors have already committed serious acts of violence.” That’s why Germany “must consequently deal” with such cases.

But no, Barley begs to differ. She even calls Herrmann’s words “misguided,” adding that minors should be protected from slipping into radicalization in the first place. Why yes, that’s true. But what do you do when they radicalize nonetheless? Simply wait for them to grow up praying they won’t commit terror attacks in the meantime?

Apparently, yes, that’s exactly what Barley intends to do. And they wonder why the average European has so little confidence in the government’s willingness to combat terrorism.