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Salafists In Germany Target Refugees For Recruitment

Arriving in Germany every day, Syrians who have fled civil war are now the targets of the Salafi movement, radical Muslims who include those who espouse Islamis jihad.

Refugees arrive last week in Munich
Refugees arrive last week in Munich
Stefan Laurin

BERLIN — Each day trains full of Syrian refugees arrive from southern Europe. They have escaped war, the barrel bombs of Bashar al-Assad's regime and the terror of ISIS. But in Germany, it's not just aid organizations and volunteer humanitarian workers awaiting them. There are also the Salafists, who see them as potential recruits for their fanatical religious convictions.

Pierre Vogel, a German-born convert and Salafi leader living in Bergheim, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, has published a list of recommendations for the followers within this Sunni Muslim movement specifying the most effective techniques for approaching and recruiting refugees. Vogel advises followers to locate and visit, in groups, all surrounding refugee camps.

He further claims to know how to win over destitute refugees: "Bring gifts," he advises. He also suggests they offer help to the workers at the refugee camps or to meet refugees at nearby mosques.

Vogel is not alone. There are other recruiters too. People have been spotted close to the refugee camps, distributing the Koran. In Hamburg, they have openly contacted refugees in a reception center for asylum seekers.

Though the Salafi movement is actively drafting followers in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, their spreading propaganda around refugee camps is not yet a mass phenomenon.

Their goal is to hinder integration and to religiously radicalize the refugees. State officials say they are taking measures to create awareness and properly inform the staff and residents of refugee camps about Salafism.

"The workers should recognize Salafist behavior, their codes and clothing, and report any suspicious event," one official says. "From what we know, Salafis have, in some individual cases, tried to contact refugees on the pretext of offering help."

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has not yet identified a core area for the Salafi publicity campaign, but it has confirmed that Salafist activity has been detected in Dortmund, also in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. That's where the majority of refugees arriving to the state are provided with first aid before being sent to Germany's main cities.

With the number of Muslim refugees on the rise for the foreseeable future, they can expect to be prime targets of these religious fanatics.

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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