Geopolitics

After Bin Laden: Martyrdom Celebrated In German Recruiting Video

The Islamist "Farooq the German," killed last year in Afghanistan, is now being celebrated as a martyr in a new German-language propaganda video.

An image from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan video.
An image from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan video.
Florian Flade

A new Islamist propaganda video is circulating that celebrates a young German jihadist believed to have died in a suicide attack last year in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan. In the 12-minute German-language video, the "Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan" (IMU) presents the story of the 21-year-old Islamist.

He went by the moniker "Farooq the German," having left Germany a year ago for Pakistan's Waziristan region to join the IMU terrorist organization.

"Our brother Farooq left his native Germany in order to meet his master," explains the German Islamist Yassin Chouka in the new biographical propaganda video. "If the enemy had seen him, they would not have dared to call him a terrorist."

"Farooq the German" fought a Jihad against both foreign and ethnic enemies in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, say his former comrades. In early July 2010, he decided to join a "martyrdom operation" and was subsequently killed.

"Our brother Farooq and three other Mujahideen went to Afghanistan in order to attack a CIA site in the center of Kunduz," explains the German Islamist in the new propaganda video. "They stormed the building together. After killing the guards, they executed their martyrdom operation one by one."

Farooq actually survived the first attack. While hiding under the corpses, he called a fellow soldier with his mobile phone and told him that he wanted to die a martyr's death on the spot. "Now, there are parts of his body scattered throughout the mortal world," says the man in the video.

Jihad is a duty

In the film, a photograph shows Farooq posing alongside three other Islamists, two Caucasian and one Afghan. But film footage also shows the German Islamist speaking to the camera himself.

"I would like to address some things that are happening here in Kunduz, Afghanistan," says the German. "We have recognized here that the jihad has become obligatory for all believers. My dear brothers in Germany, it cannot be that some Mujahideen lead a jihad, and that others sit at home and do nothing."

Addressing German solidiers based in Afghanistan, he says "How can you be satisfied with the fact that the German army has invaded the Kunduz and tried to declare war on Muslims, on believers (...) We are fighting a jihad so that the word of Allah is the greatest - we are not fighting for Afghanistan, not for a country."

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) does not specify which attack was committed by the German. The date given, however, leads intelligence officials to believe that "Farooq the German" was killed in the July 2, 2010 attack on the American-run Organization Development Alternatives Inc (DAI).

A 32-year-old German guard from Schleswig-Holstein was killed in the attack, while two of the would-be kamikazes were shot and killed before they were able to detonate their explosive vests.

Within the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), at least three Islamists with German ties have already died. The Bonn-based German-Afghan Javad S. was killed in Pakistan during the fall of 2009 while fighting the Pakistani army. Shahab D. from Hamburg and Bünyamin E. from Wuppertal were both killed in October 2010 during a U.S. drone attack on a house in the tribal area of ​​North Waziristan.

Several other German members of the IBU have been arrested in both Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years, and are currently awaiting trial in Germany.

Read the original article in German

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Society

What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel

-Essay-

BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.


Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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