June 18, 2014
A recently published report by Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution warned against the massive increase of xenophobic violence by right-wing extremists in Germany. Compared with 2012 the xenophobic attacks have increased in 2013 by 20.4 percent – from 393 to 473. Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maizière, and the president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maaßen, also warned of the danger of Islamist terrorism by returnees from the Syrian civil war. De Maizière stressed that the attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels have made it clear that this threat has become a deadly reality. In relation to Germany he said that more than 320 Islamist “jihadists” traveled from Germany to Syria and according to earlier information about 100 of them have returned. Scholars on Islam criticized Thomas de Maizière and Hans-Georg Maaßen’s concerns. Jörn Thielmann questioned the numbers of people referred to in the annual report as Islamists while Werner Schiffauer, cultural scientist and scholar on Islam, criticized de Mazière for unnecessarily dramatizing the potential of Islamism.