By Andrea Shalal
Islamic State is using “headhunters” on social media and instant messaging sites to recruit disaffected young people in Germany, some as young as 13 or 14, the head of the country’s domestic intelligence agency said on Thursday.
Hans-Georg Maassen also drew parallels between the militant Islamist group and past radical movements such as communism and Adolf Hitler’s Nationalist Socialists that also tried to lure young people keen to rebel against their parents and society.
“On social media networks there are practically headhunters who approach young people and get them interested in this (Islamist) ideology,” Maassen told foreign reporters in Berlin.
He cited the cases of a German-Moroccan girl, Safia S., 16, who is accused of stabbing a policeman at a train station in Hanover in February last year, and a 12-year-old German-Iraqi boy who tried to detonate two explosive devices in the western town of Ludwigshafen in December.
In closing arguments at Safia’s trial on Thursday, prosecutors asked the judge to convict her of attempted murder, grave physical injury and support of a foreign terrorist organization, with a sentence of six years in prison. A verdict is expected on Jan. 26.
Prosecutors are also seeking a three-year sentence for Mohamad Hasan K., a 20-year-old German-Syrian accused of having known of Safia’s planned attack but not informing the police.