AIn view of the terrorist attacks in Dresden, Paris, Nice and Vienna, in which nine people have been killed in the past few weeks, the Bundestag dealt with the fight against Islamist terror in Europe in a current hour on Thursday. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer warned right at the beginning of the debate that attacks must be expected at any time. He joined the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, who warned on Wednesday evening that the security authorities in Germany must be “very vigilant” at the moment. Now it is important to “take a very sharp look at the threats known to us”. There are certainly one or the other who think about acts of imitation.
According to Seehofer, the security authorities are currently aware of 615 Islamist threats in Germany. 217 of them are Germans, 119 have German and another citizenship, 273 are foreigners, according to Seehofer. So it was not enough to think that the extremists can be dealt with with deportations alone. Konstantin von Notz (The Greens) also criticized that the blanket demand for the deportation of endangered parties, as heard from the AfD, was a misleading solution. The assassin from Vienna was an Austrian citizen. A deportation could not have done anything against him. In this respect, populism is a “terribly bad security policy”.
Not against Islam
Right at the beginning of the debate, Seehofer emphasized that the fight against terrorism was not directed against Islam, but against fanatical and violent Islamism. The left-wing parliamentary group leader Amira Mohamed Ali said that as a Muslim, with every Islamist attack she always grabs the concern “what does that do to the image of Islam”. Many Muslims are afraid that reservations about religion will continue to grow. There should be no doubt that all people who lived peacefully in Germany are an equal part of society.
There was disagreement between the parties, among other things, on the subject of a ban on deportation for those at risk in war zones. For example, the CDU politician Alexander Throm called on the Interior Ministers’ Conference (IMK), which was to be held next week, to suspend the ban on deportation, at least for those at risk from Syria. Those who declare themselves to be the enemy of Germany and want to kill people in this country do not deserve any protection, said Throm. Meanwhile, Seehofer warned against actionism after the terrorist attacks. First of all, applicable law should be applied consistently.
In particular, the Interior Minister advocated better international cooperation in the pursuit and surveillance of terrorists. This cooperation will also play a major role at the Interior Ministers’ Conference on November 13th, said Seehofer. He also emphasized the importance of a good staffing of the security authorities in Germany, since the monitoring of threats is extremely personnel-intensive.
Weaknesses in counter-terrorism
The President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Holger Münch, pointed this out again on Thursday. As a witness in a public hearing before the committee of inquiry into the terrorist attack on Breitscheidplatz, Münch said that the attack on the Christmas market in Berlin at the end of 2016 revealed “weak points” in the counter-terrorism. A weak point was that at that time the focus was more on the probability of certain terrorist scenarios and less on the dangers of the individual, said Münch. He also referred to the sharp rise in the number of investigations into radical Islamists between 2014 and 2016. “The resources available to the security forces did not keep pace with the dynamics of developments,” said Münch.
In addition to better staffing, the security authorities should also be given the authority of the Quellen-TKÜ in the future. After a long struggle, the SPD and the Union had agreed on this. The chairman of the IMK, Thuringia’s Interior Minister Georg Maier (SPD), expressly welcomed this before the Bundestag. The prevention of criminal offenses should not fail because terrorists nowadays no longer communicate by phone, but via chat.