Germany’s domestic intelligence chief expresses concern on “brainwashed” children of Islamist fighters
February 5, 2018 | Brainwave Science
In a recent interview given to Reuters, Germany’s domestic intelligence chief showed worry regarding children of Islamist fighters who can come back to the country with terrorist intents, as “sleeper agents”.
Heiko-Georg Maassen, President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, declared that security officials were preparing for the return of possibly “brainwashed” children. So far, 1,000 people are believed to have left Germany in order to join the Islamist militants.
As the Islamist militants are weakening in the Middle East, a part of them is returning, bringing with them more family members. It is believed that of all the children who were born and Syria and Iraq or left Germany, only 290 returned. The others are believed to be moving in other areas, where the Islamic State still has power.
“We see that children who grew up with Islamic State were brainwashed in the schools and the kindergartens of the IS,” said the domestic intelligence chief. “They were confronted early with the IS ideology … learned to fight and were in some cases forced to participate in the abuse of prisoners, or even the killing of prisoners.” “We have to consider that these children could be living time bombs,” completed Heiko Maassen. “There is a danger that these children come back brainwashed with a mission to carry out attacks.”
The head of domestic intelligence put out his first warning on this topic in October 2017, fearing that such children might pose a threat after being indoctrinated in battlefield areas. The radicalization of minors has been a big topic in Germany given that three of five Islamist attacks in Germany in 2016 were carried out by minors. In addition to this, the Islamic State continued to target vulnerable young people in Germany through social media channels, trying to recruit them.
The German government said it has evidence that more than 960 people left Germany for Iraq and Syria through November 2017 to fight for the Islamic State jihadist group. About a third of them are believed to have returned to Germany.
Germany’s intelligence is now confronted with a possible terrorist threat coming from the children of Islamist fighters. As terrorist networks expand and change at a considerable rate, more and more security measures are in order. Current intelligence problems are not only organizationally more complex and transnational but are constantly evolving.
Highly motivated double agents and foreign enemies are often undeterred despite increased surveillance, intensive screening processes, and communication interceptions. In this case, this makes no exception. At the increasing rate of Islamist children following on a terrorist path, law enforcement needs to find more efficient and accurate ways of obtaining valuable information.
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