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Germany Downplayed Threat of Jihadists Posing as Migrants
- More than 400 migrants who entered Germany as asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016 are being investigated for links to Islamic terrorism, according to the Federal Criminal Police.
- The German experience with jihadists posing as migrants serves as a case study on errors for other countries to avoid. German authorities allowed hundreds of thousands of migrants, many lacking documentation, to enter Germany without a security check. German authorities admitted they lost track of some 130,000 migrants who entered the country in 2015.
- German authorities knew in early 2015 that Walid Salihi, an 18-year-old Syrian who applied for asylum in Germany in 2014, was recruiting for the Islamic State at his asylum shelter in Recklinghausen, but they did nothing.
- Anis Amri, the Tunisian jihadist who attacked the Christmas market in Berlin, used at least 14 different identities, which he used to obtain social welfare benefits under different names in different municipalities.
- “We have probably forgotten to take into account what political opponents such as the Islamic State are capable of doing and how they think.” — Rudolf van Hüllen, political scientist.
German political leaders and national security officials knew that Islamic State jihadists were entering Europe disguised as migrants but repeatedly downplayed the threat, apparently to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments, according to an exposé by German public television.
German officials knew as early as March 2015 — some six months before Chancellor Angela Merkel opened German borders to more than a million migrants from the Muslim world — that jihadists were posing as refugees, according to the Munich Report (Report München), an investigative journalism program broadcast by ARD public television on January 17.
More than 400 migrants who entered Germany as asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016 are now being investigated for links to Islamic terrorism, according to the Federal Criminal Police (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA).
The revelations come amid criticism of U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s plans to suspend immigration from select countries until mechanisms are in place to properly vet migrants entering the United States. The German experience with jihadists posing as migrants serves as a case study on errors for other countries to avoid.