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Germany

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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Society

Now They're Diagnosing Burnout's Never-Quit Cousin: Burn-On

Feeling overworked but not yet burned out? Often the problem is “burn-on,” an under-researched phenomenon whose sufferers desperately struggle to keep up and meet their own expectations — with dangerous consequences for their health.

Now They're Diagnosing Burnout's Never-Quit Cousin: Burn-On

Burn-out is the result of sustained periods of stress at work

Beate Strobel

At first glance, Mr L seems to be a successful man with a well-rounded life: middle management, happily married, father of two. If you ask him how he is, he responds with a smile and a “Fine thanks”. But everything is not fine. When he was admitted to the psychosomatic clinic Kloster Diessen, Mr L described his emotional life as hollow and empty.

Although outwardly he is still putting on a good face, he has been privately struggling for some time. Everything that used to bring him joy and fun has become simply another chore. He can hardly remember what it feels like to enjoy his life.

For psychotherapist Professor Bert te Wildt, who heads the psychosomatic clinic in Ammersee in Bavaria, Germany, the symptoms of Patient L. make him a prime example of a new and so far under-researched syndrome, that he calls “burn-on”. Working with psychologist Timo Schiele, he has published his findings about the phenomenon in a book, Burn-On.

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