Now that there are more than five million Muslim asylum seekers in Germany with the total continuing to grow daily, what many foretold as the inevitable consequences are now starkly evident.
Late last year the German Government's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees reported what was described by them as a "new phenomenon" – the Radicalism Hotline of the Office is being deluged by teachers, school psychologists and mental health workers concerned about primary school children with Islamist tendencies. These children are described as "Salafist children" meaning that they have been or are being radicalised by their already radical Muslim parents.
German authorities are deeply worried that Muslim children, many of whom have been born in Germany, are being targeted by Jihadist and Salafist groups not only via social media but directly in the playground. This growth of exclusionary and fundamentalist beliefs among young children has already been identified as having the magnitude of a youth subculture. Perhaps ironically, this development has grown increasingly as Islamic State has lost more and more ground in the Middle East.
A spokesman for the Nuremberg Advisory Centre on Radicalisation has confirmed that most primary school Muslim children "have grown up in a Salafist environment".
The German Baden-Wurttemberg State Government has been so concerned by this emerging trend that it has established the Centre for Coordination of the Network to Prevent Extremism, which is now training school psychologists and teachers about how to recognise extremism among Muslim students.
An expert from the Centre who briefed a group of school mental health professionals last December told local media that teachers and psychologists "often lack awareness with regards to how to distinguish between regular behaviour that has maybe been brought on by puberty and extremism".
These courses teach school staff how to recognise jihadist symbols and code that young people post on the internet such as the Islamic State flag or a picture of lions. During the training, participants told the course presenter, "Now that you have explained the codes and symbols, I remember seeing that".
One of the Centre's online resources says that schools should be alert if pupils show "emphatic rejection of the views of teachers and classmates as haram (forbidden)". Other warning signs include Muslim youths/children turning their backs on music and other leisure activities and radically changing their behaviour towards the opposite sex.
German intelligence agencies have warned that there is a growing number of female Islamic extremists coming to prominence as their terrorist husbands are sent to prison. In the state of North Rhine-Westphalia alone, more than forty female extremists have already been identified as radicalising children who are seen as the next generation of jihadists.
Last December, German domestic intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maassen warned that support for radical Islam was at "an all-time high" with the number of Salafists identified by authorities as living in Germany having grown from 3,700 in 2011 to 10,800 in 2017. Thousands more, authorities concede, have not been identified.
He said that street recruitment and radicalism in mosques had been reduced somewhat in favour of "small conspiratorial circles, primarily on the internet" which was, he said, "a particular challenge" for his office.
According to official statistics quoted by the respected Pew Research Centre, the number of Muslims living in Germany rose from 3.3 million (4.1% of the population) in 2010 to 5 million (6.1%) in 2016. The median age of Muslims is 31 and for non-Muslims it is 47 and the total fertility rate predicted over 2015 – 2020 is 1.9 for Muslims and 1.4 for the rest of Germany's population. Clearly, the growth in the Muslim population is not just because of refugees but because of the higher Muslim birth rate. These population figures and trends in Germany are broadly reflected throughout Europe, which is estimated to already have a 5% Muslim population and growing.
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