Isis crisis: Islamic State banned in Germany

The decree closes a legal loop hole which made it difficult to prosecute supporters of the group

Germany has announced an immediate ban on all activity which promotes Isis, as the group maintains its control over swathes of Syria and Iraq.

Security agencies estimate at least 400 people from Germany have joined the group now calling itself the Islamic State (IS) and similar organisations.

The decree closes a legal loop hole which made it difficult to prosecute supporters of the group.

Under Friday’s ruling, it is now illegal to distribute propaganda material promoting IS, to display the group’s symbols, or to take part in activities connected with the group. 

In a statement on Friday, interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere warned that the group poses a “threat to public security in Germany” and therefore its recruitment efforts must to be stopped.

More than 100 jihadists are back in Germany including "some with combat experience who have learned to hate", he said.

 

"We don't know what they are doing, but it could be that they will carry out attacks," he added, citing the case of a returning jihadist returning to France where he was arrested in connection with an attack on a Jewish museum in Belgium in May.

He added that IS uses social media to run aggressive German-language recruitment campaigns "to get young women and men to join the jihad and fight and murder." Security services alone cannot stop the radicalisation of young Muslims, de Maiziere said, urging "parents, siblings, neighbors and friends" to help.

De Maiziere went on to praise Germany's mainstream Muslim community for standing up to the "barbaric" organisation.

The move comes after the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper this week reported that a German citizen, identified only as Silvio K., had published a video threatening attacks against Germany because of the country's support for Kurds fighting the Islamic State group.

In response to the crisis in Iraq, Germany has decided to arm Kurdish forces fighting extremists, putting aside its usual reluctance to send weapons into conflicts.

Asked about participating in airstrikes, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: "We have neither been asked to do that, nor will we do that."

Additional reporting by Reuters and Associated Press

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