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Impact of Counter-Terrorism on Communities- Germany Background Report

Impact of Counter-Terrorism on Communities- Germany Background Report

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Published by: Paulo Felix on Oct 10, 2012
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Impact of Counter-Terrorism onCommunities: Germany Background Report
 ECKARD JESSA AND TOM MANNEWITZ 
Executive Summary 
 This report forms a starting point for those wishing to understand and assess the impact of counter-terrorism policies on minority communities in Germany, with a special focus on Muslims and immigrantsfrom predominantly Muslim countries at the beginning of the 21
st
Century. The report will place thisimpact into its proper context, detailing the community, legal, policing, security and political context which surrounds this issue.Section one details the population and community context, highlighting demographic trends and outlining the distribution and makeup of Muslims in Germany. There are c. four million Muslims living inGermany, the majority of whom are of Turkish origin (2.6 million). The ‘average immigrant Muslim’ ismale, 36 years old, lives in a four person household in one of the western states, has a low level of education and is gainfully employed.More than 2000 individual Muslim communities form the nucleus of Muslim life in Germany. Some of these are organised into nationwide umbrella organisations, of which the predominantly Turkish DITIBand the multi-ethnic Muslim Council (IRD) are the largest. Together with two other umbrellaorganisations both affiliated with the Coordinating Council of Muslims in Germany (KRM) in 2007. Among the roles of these umbrella organisations is the representation of Muslim interests within theGerman Islam Conference (DIK). The DIK is a state institution, created in 2006 to provide a forum forMuslim organisations and, as well, for prominent individuals living in Germany to support the integrationof Muslims, strengthen social cohesion and prevent extremism. There are annual meetings (‘Plenum of 30’) and a number of task-group sessions that take place during the year. The Initiative Security Partnership is another institution that is supposed to improve the cooperation between Muslims andGerman security authorities, in order to handle Islamist extremism and terrorism. While Muslims criticise the lack of recognition of Islamophobia and the general suspicion towardsMuslims regarding counter-terrorism, they generally reject violence and extremism. What is more, mostMuslims say they have not been subject to discrimination, yet think that Muslims (as a group are
 
Impact of Counter-Terrorism on Communities | Germany Institute for Strategic Dialogue | Country Background Report
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frequently discriminated by the majority society. The atmosphere of cooperation can thus be describedbest as both critical and constructive. The majority of Germans are positive about counter-terroristmeasures and support the introduction of further measures.Section two highlights the key pieces of counter terrorism legislation on the statute books in Germany. The core legislation on terrorism remains the penal code and -most recently- the 2012 Amending Law onthe Protection of the Constitution, which renews the anti-terror-laws from 2002 (TBG) and 2007(TBEG). The legislation raised the threshold for security authorities to interfere; parliament was givensupervisory powers over counter-terrorism; and the preparation of severe state-endangering acts of  violence was made a punishable offence. The policy and policing context is analysed in section three. Examining concrete measures draws a clearerpicture. Police may conduct identity checks in order to avert dangers and prosecute crimes; however,ethnic profiling is prohibited. Foreigners may be deported due to terrorist-related actions. Preventivedetention is only applied to foreigners who are to be deported due to terrorist-related actions but wouldhave to face torture or the death penalty in their country of origin. Punishable terrorism-related actionsinclude the support of terrorist organisations, the recruitment of members for terrorist organisations, orthe incitement thereof.How are Muslims and ethnic minorities protected against general suspicion and discrimination by stateauthorities? The most important checks and balances on the measures of counter-terrorism legislationhave constitutional status; Articles 3 (the equality principle) and 33 of the constitution say that humans areequal before the law; nobody shall be discriminated against or given preference due to sex, descent, race,language, homeland or origin, belief, religious or political views.Germany’s key policy is built on five pillars: (1) Destroying terrorist structures by the increased use of search and investigative measures in order to prevent terrorism, (2) Fighting the causes of terrorism by preventing radicalisation processes, (3) Protecting the population and reducing the country’s vulnerability,(4) Managing attack consequences in a sustained manner, and (5) Using the opportunities of Europeaninternational cooperation. Counter-radicalisation (number two) is the most important one. It includes amulti-dimensional approach utilising civic education and religious-political dialogue as well as a policy of integration. The Federal Agency for Civic Education, the Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees, andseveral civil society projects are key instruments. This strategy, inclusive of the prevention policy, has beencontinuous and without major inconsistencies since 2001. The key institutions occupied with counter-terrorism proper (excluding civil society measures and national defence) are the police authorities on theone side, and the intelligence services on the other. The separation requirement, however, sets limits totheir cooperation. However, they work together in the recently established Joint Counter-TerrorismCentre (GTAZ) and the Joint Internet Centre (GIZ).
 
Impact of Counter-Terrorism on Communities | Germany Institute for Strategic Dialogue | Country Background Report
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 The police polarise German Muslim opinion, with most holding an absolutely positive or deeply negative view of the police. This is likely due to a disturbed relationship following some high-profile mosquechecks subsequent to terrorist attacks in New York, London and Madrid. However, a number of measures have been taken to prevent discrimination by policemen, particularly via educational courses. Inrecent years, the Federal Government had to provide opposition parties with information on thesemeasures, since the latter had posed minor and major intercessions concerning discrimination by policeauthorities against Muslims. Not least the intensified cooperation of both police and Muslims with thehelp of the Initiative Security Partnership should have improved the relationship. The security situation which informs these policies is outlined in section four. In 2011 there were 19arrests and 12 convictions related to Islamist terrorism, which meant a peak in the past five years. Thismirrors the increased number of Islamist extremists (38,080 in 2011). Nevertheless, Germany has fallenprey to only one single successful Islamist terrorist attack; in March 2011 Arid Uka, a 20 year old native of Kosovo, killed two US soldiers at Frankfurt Airport. Other bombing plots (e. g. the Sauerland Group) were revealed early as a result of the cooperation of security authorities. Key officials rate the level of threat proceeding from Islamist extremism as constantly high. Muslims, in turn, deem the risk of anIslamist terrorist attack in Germany as low.
 
 The political context is dealt with in section five where it is concluded that all in all, the FederalGovernment proceeds cautiously and adopts measures moderately. The parliamentarian controlmechanism balances the security interests of the government well. Politicians treat Islam like a hot potato,for they know that they may burn their fingers. The general public seems to be divided on Islam. One half does think that it belongs in Germany, the other half does not. Both the wider society and politicianscreate the impression of being a little over-challenged as, for a long time, they have not devoted theattention -to Muslims in particular and immigrants in general- that they actually deserved. It seems thatthe set of problems related to 9/11 has caught German society off its guard. The final section deals briefly with the sparse research in existence with deals with this area. Research onthe impact of counter-terrorism is limited to four points: (1) Overviews, (2) The pure efficacy of CTmeasures, (3) The problem of military operations abroad, and (4) The impact on the principles of constitutional democracy from a juridical perspective.
I.
 
Population and Community Context
Germany’s population consists of about 82 million people (2010) of which c. 75 million are of Germanand seven million of foreign nationality. In order to paint a clear picture of minorities in Germany, it isimportant to keep in mind that two different definitions circulate in the responsible agencies. This is

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