The Siren Call of the Syrian Jihad

In a recent incident in the German city of Offenbach, a TV news crew was set upon and beaten by “youths” when they came to investigate the recruitment of young “Germans” for the jihad against the Assad regime in Syria. At least one member of the crew had to be hospitalized.

Pay attention the imam interviewed in the news reports below. He is soft-spoken and reasonable, yet he wears a full Salafi beard and is similar in appearance to the most hard-core “radicals”. Is he sincere in his distress about the violent young men who occasionally visited his mosque? Or is he dissembling?

Below are two reports on the incident from German TV. The first is shorter, and contains abbreviated versions of some parts of the second video, including the actual attack.

Many thanks to Oz-Rita for the translations, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling.

Video 1:

Video 2:

Transcript 1:

00:08   Young Muslims
00:13   radicalised here who then join the civil war in Syria:
00:17   a danger the Interior Minister has warned us about because they will later return
00:21   and endanger our “living together”. Young Muslims
00:26   who obviously want to join the war in Syria do exist here.
00:30   An ARD TV team wanted to film a documentary about this in Offenbach.
00:35   Our colleagues from “Report Mainz” were attacked and beaten up in broad daylight.
00:40   Without any warning, 6 men attack
00:44   the TV team. One reporter, a camera man and his assistant are injured.
00:49   Reporter Fritz Schmaldienst (middle) regularly researches
00:53   the ‘Salafist scene’: “If one reports critically
00:57   about the Salafist scene
01:01   one always has to expect aggressions, that’s clear,
01:06   but that they get that aggressive and violent
01:10   we did not expect this”.
01:15   The reporters had an appointment with the Imam of that community
01:19   for an interview: 10 young males of the community had been radicalised
01:24   and were planning to go to Syria to fight against the Assad regime.
01:28   One father of these men had asked the reporters for help. The imam
01:33   is horrified. The group had never been violent.
01:37   “This of course shows us how some members of our community…
01:42   or rather ‘visitors’ of the mosque
01:46   think and it gives us the chance to actively intervene.
01:50   because, until someone really
01:55   shows what he thinks or shows his reaction towards others
01:59   we can do nothing. Radicalised Islamists in Offenbach??
02:04   Not a general problem for the director of the “Program for Integration”
02:08   “Offenbach is a city where integration
02:12   and “living together” functions very well. We have
02:17   had no such incidents in the past and hope that
02:21   this remains so”. The ‘Report Mainz’ researches have
02:26   revealed that the young men in this community have been under surveillance for a while
02:30   by Police and intelligence services. Despite this, neither the Hessian Interior minister nor
02:34   the Offenbach Police wanted to comment on the possible radicalisation of these men.
02:39   From the police only this: “We are investigating grievous bodily harm
02:43   and criminal property damage. We try, also with help of the responsibles
02:48   of the mosque, to find the suspects
02:56   Many community members are shocked.
03:01   Report Mainz will bring an in-depth report on the incident tomorrow evening on ARD.

Transcript 2:

00:01   Some reportages start with a
00:05   Call for help. In this case a father who worried about his son
00:09   called us. The practising Muslim was afraid about his underage son
00:13   getting caught in the net of radical Islamists.
00:17   he worried his son might follow a call to Syria
00:22   and go to fight a ‘holy war’ against the Assad regime.
00:26   When our reporters, Eric Bals and Fritz Schmaldienst started their researches
00:30   they had no idea how dangerous this story would become
00:34   even for themselves. Last Friday in front of a Mosque
00:38   in Offenbach: With our camera team we had an appointment
00:42   with the Imam of the Mosque. “ off”.
00:46   Some didn’t seem very welcoming. But we were not prepared
00:50   for what happened next. Firstly
00:54   a man attacks the reporter then the camera man.
00:58   The man does not let go of us.
01:02   Brutal violence.
01:06   For his attack the attacker uses a firm object,
01:10   probably a mobile. Result:
01:14   several persons of our team are injured.
01:18   Our camera assistant suffers a cranial bruise
01:22   has to be treated by the emergency doctor. He is afraid and does not want to be recognised,
01:26   He was attacked by several persons.
01:30   Why this outbreak of violence?
01:34   Several hours earlier in Offenbach
01:38   we are looking for a group of young Muslims. They apparently want
01:42   to travel to Syria to fight there. A desperate father
01:46   had called us: he is fearful for his under-age son.
01:50   In the vicinity of the mosque we encounter several youths
01:54   When we mention Syria, they walk away.
01:58   Is this the group we are looking for?
02:02   We get confirmation of this a day later from the Imam of the Mosque.
02:06   he seems shocked about the attack on us and
02:10   confirms that there is a group of youths who want to go to Syria.
02:14   ”We have observed that some of the youths
02:18   who occasionally come to this mosque
02:22   have distanced themselves from
02:26   the general program of the mosque
02:30   and occupy themselves somewhat alternatively
02:34   and…” …”radicalise?”…”probably”
02:39   He tells us about the under-age youth.
02:43   The worried father had also called upon the Mosque. “The Father
02:47   said that the son wanted to go to Syria, as I understood it”. “To fight?”.
02:51   ”ahhmm…difficult to say
02:55   Why does one go to Syria these days. Tourists don’t go there now”.
02:59   Later we learn: this is the 17 year old
03:03   Muslim on his way to the Mosque.
03:07   He is there when we are attacked, and he
03:11   joined the group who wants to fight in Syria.
03:15   Why do he and the others risk their lives in that war?
03:19   Are these the pictures that drive them?
03:23   Syria, an especially cruel war.
03:27   Participating: Islamic terror groups. Their aim?
03:31   A theocracy. Islamists from Germany fight there also.
03:35   On the internet we discover this video. It shows
03:39   a man from North Rhein Westfalia in fighter uniform in Syria.
03:43   Sabri Ben Acta. In Germany he is known as agitator.
03:47   for the Salafists: “Only Zionists, they
03:51   decide what happens in this world!” In Syria Ben Apta agitates
03:55   for “Help in Need”. Allegedly only a charity
03:59   but what messages does he spread here?
04:03   ”If you are real men, come here…
04:07   don’t be stupid with some Kalashnikovs etc. in some rent videos
04:11   come here, yes? The brother here risks his life every day.
04:15   If you are REAL men, come down here.
04:19   come down here and help with rebuilding!”.
04:23   Is he really about the rebuilding of a destroyed country? We meet Karl-Heinz Ruff.
04:27   In the State office of Criminal Investigation of Baden Wuertemberg he directs the department
04:31   for State Security. What does he say to the statements of Sabri ben (Name?)?
04:35   ”I think that
04:39   he actively incites his brothers in faith in Germany
04:43   to come to Syria and to fight there
04:47   In my opinion we are here,
04:51   when you are recruited for a terror organisation, in an indictable area”.
04:55   Are there really young Muslims who follow his call?
04:59   We learn about a case in Pforzheim.
05:03   Munir Ibrahim. During earlier researches we have already met him.
05:07   That’s him. the young Muslim takes part in the “Distribution of the Koran” action
05:11   and has participated in last years’ Salafist protests in Berlin.
05:16   His message on YouTube: “It is
05:20   time to fulfill our obligations”. Meanwhile, according to security services,
05:24   he fights in Syria. And Karl-Heinz Ruff believes to know who
05:28   incited him. “We assume
05:32   that Ben Akta (name?) had great influence on the young Pforzheim man
05:36   who is at present in Syria”.
05:40   We want to speak with Sabri (Name). 2 days ago in Hahnau
05:44   the association “Help in need” has invited to a “Syria Gala”
05:48   High ranking Salafist preachers came. Sabri Ben (Name) too
05:52   is back from Syria. Instead of his fighter uniform, this time he is in a suit
05:56   ”Mr. Ben Apta (name) a very short question.
06:00   Do you incite young people to go to Syria
06:04   to fight? Mr. Ben Apta (name)”. He does not answer our questions.
06:08   yet he surely has a huge influence on the youth.
06:12   Back in Offenbach. How could
06:16   the group of youth so radicalise themselves, here?
06:20   A question to which the Imam also seeks an answer.
06:24   In doing so, he looks helpless.
06:28   ”One should perhaps have
06:32   done something much earlier
06:36   but one doesn’t know what they do outside the mosque
06:40   We cannot survey them, we can say nothing, anyway
06:44   they are also the ones who acted yesterday”
06:48   Increasingly in Germany, young radical Muslims
06:52   fanatic and violent to the extreme
06:56   a danger in the face of which, so far. we all find ourselves helpless.
07:04   Today in Berlin (you saw it in the News)
07:08   Homeland Security presented their report. One focus:
07:12   the danger from Islamic terrorism. From Germany
07:16   already 60 persons have travelled to Syria to participate in that war.
07:20   When those return to Germany, they will be
07:24   battle hardened and ready for terror attacks, according to homeland security.
07:28   under also an interview with our reporter
07:32   Fritz Schmaldienst, meanwhile an expert
07:36   on this theme.

For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.

3 thoughts on “The Siren Call of the Syrian Jihad

  1. “Many thanks to Oz-Rita for the translations”

    Thanks for the thanks, Baron 🙂

    I observed that the Reporter (Fritz Schmaldienst) talks German with an accent, yet the “Iman” is obviously a native speaker. Colour me cynical, conservative and islamophobic, but I have heard of Takja (even if I cannot spell it ), and I do not give the benefit of the doubt to a man who dresses like this in my old country. Hmmmpfff.

  2. ” … a danger in the face of which, so far. we all find ourselves helpless.”

    The helplessness of knowing the future JIM scenario –

    Doctor Jihadist was employed by the NHS… in 2013 it is believed that he fought with the Free Syrian Army… on returning to the U.K. he resumed his employment with the NHS… colleagues that treated scores of casualties from yesterday’s atrocity were shocked on learning that Doctor Jihadist was one of the several terrorists involved in the attack… William Hague, today refused to comment when asked if Doctor Jihadist had been placed on a watch list or had been monitored by the secret intelligence service on his return to the U.K. from Syria.

  3. In the past the U.K. has arbitrarily banned alleged hooligan football fans from travelling abroad to international soccer fixtures, yet it condones jihad tourism that is presumably facilitated on British passports to go and murder the citizens of other nations.

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