by Soeren Kern
January 1. Some 2,000 “highly aggressive” migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East gathered at the central train station in Cologne and the square in front of the iconic Cologne Cathedral, where mass sexual assaults occurred on New Year’s Eve 2015. A massive police presence consisting of 1,700 officers deterred mayhem. Police reported three sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve 2016, compared to more than a thousand on the same day in 2015.
January 1. In Berlin, at least 22 women were sexually assaulted during New Year’s Eve celebrations at the Brandenburg Gate, despite the presence of 1,700 police officers. Police initially reported six assaults, but after inquiries from local media raised that number. In Hamburg, at least 14 women were sexually assaulted. Police arrested three Iraqis, three Syrians, two Afghans, one Eritrean and one German-Russian.
January 2. Greens Party Leader Simone Peter accused the Cologne Police Department of racial profiling after a tweet referred to North African migrants as “Nafris.” The head of the DPolG, Ernst Walter, explained that “Nafri” is not derogatory but rather a technical acronym used by the police to refer to “North African intensive offender” (nordafrikanische Intensivtäter). “If a North African person is suspected of committing a crime, he is a ‘Nafri,'” Walter said. Cologne Police Chief Jürgen Mathies added: “From the experiences of the past New Year’s Eve, from experience gained by police raids as a whole, a clear impression has emerged here about which persons are to be checked. They are not gray-haired older men or blond-haired young women.”
January 2. Police in Saarland arrested Hasan A., a 38-year-old asylum seeker from Syria who solicited €180,000 ($192,000) in funds from the Islamic State in order to carry out a high-casualty terrorist attack in Germany. The prosecutor’s office in Saarbrücken said the man asked the Islamic State for the money to purchase eight vehicles (€22,500 each) which would be camouflaged as police cars, loaded with 400-500 kilos of explosives, and exploded into a large crowd. Hasan said he wanted the money to support his family in Syria, not to carry out attacks in Germany.
January 3. Amnesty International called for an investigation of the police in Cologne for the alleged “racial profiling” of North African migrants who were suspected of promoting violence on New Year’s Eve.
January 3. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière called for a “reorganization” of the security structures in Germany in order to confront the challenges of terrorism, large influxes of asylum seekers and cyberattacks. He said the federal government should be given more powers than it has now.
January 5. North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Regional Criminal Police Director Dieter Schürmann revealed that Anis Amri, the 24-year-old Tunisian Salafist who carried out the jihadist attack on the Christmas market in Berlin on December 19, 2016, was known by authorities to be a threat to security as early as February 2016 but that they had found no evidence to arrest him. Schürmann also said that Amri had also used a total of 14 different identities under multiple names to collect social welfare benefits.
January 6. Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel called for a “culture war” to defeat Islamism. “If we are serious about the fight against Islamism and terrorism, then it must also be a cultural struggle,” he said. “We must strengthen the cohesion of society and ensure that neighborhoods are not neglected, villages are not degenerated and people are not becoming more and more radicalized,” he added. Gabriel also said that “Salafist mosques must be banned, the communities dissolved and the preachers deported, as soon as possible.”
January 7. A group of five “Black Africans” (Schwarzafrikanern) sexually assaulted a 28-year-old woman in Hamburg. The woman, a nurse at the Asklepios-Klinik St. Georg, was walking to her car after her shift ended when she heard someone screaming for help in an adjacent park. When she went to lend a hand she was ambushed by the men, assaulted and robbed.
January 7. Asif M., a 26-year-old asylum seeker from Pakistan, appeared in court on charges he raped one woman and attempted to rape five others in Berlin-Steglitz. He insisted that he was the victim: “As a refugee, it is difficult to find a girlfriend.”
January 7. An Emnid poll for Bild am Sonntag found that 58% of German women believe that public places have become less safe due the migration crisis. Nearly half (48%) say they avoid certain areas in their place of residence when it is dark, and 16% now carry pepper spray when they are on their own after dark.
January 7. Intelligence Chief Hans-Georg Maaßen warned that Germany’s Salafist scene is not only growing, but also becoming more decentralized, thus making it more difficult to monitor. He said the number of Salafists in Germany was 9,700, up 500 from 9,200 in October 2016.
And that’s just a sampling from the first week of January. Read it all at germany-islam-january.