The German government has been disturbingly tight-lipped on the growing threat of Islamic extremism in the Balkans.
DW The German government has urged that the number of fighters from the western Balkans joining extremist groups be classified. Is Berlin playing down the rise of Islamic extremism, and Saudi influence, in the region?
The German federal government cannot discount the “basic threat posed by individuals and splinter groups in the Islamist scene” in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The government also claims that contacts exist between radical groups in the Balkans and Germany. Still, the government’s own foreign intelligence service, the BND, reports no concrete evidence of a growing extremist movement in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The German government is loathe to comment publicly on the flood of money from Arab Gulf states that is supposedly financing the teaching of Wahhabism, the hardline sect of Islam promoted by the Saudi Arabian government, in the Balkans. They similarly declined to publicly comment on the posting of Saudi and Turkish imams in Bosnia.
Sevim Dagdelen, foreign policy expert the federal government has been trying to play down the growing Islamist threat in public and claims that rising numbers of potentially violent extremists pose a grave threat to Germany. “Furthermore, it is entirely unacceptable that the government continues to hide the role of Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia, and of Turkey.”