German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that she sees no connection between the unregulated flow of refugees into Germany and a rise in Islamist terrorism in her country.
Despite warnings from intelligence chiefs about terrorists smuggling themselves into Germany disguised as migrants – and two terror attacks last month including an Isis suicide bomber – Mrs. Merkel seems determined to ignore public opinion about her “open door” policy towards asylum seekers.
At a political meeting yesterday in her home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern ahead of a regional poll next month, she was asked if “terrorism had come to Germany with the refugees.”
The chancellor, whose approval ratings are dwindling on the back of public fears about increased terror risk, said: “The phenomenon of Islamic terrorism of IS is not a phenomenon that has come to us through the refugees but one we already had.”
This goes against the grain of what the country’s own domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, states.
Only days ago, as well as fears over the number of potential terrorists who have come to Germany amidst the wave of 1.2 million refugees, it was revealed that Jihadist recruiters are hard at work trying to radicalise young men among them.
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution says that it has concrete knowledge of over 340 cases of attempted Jihadist recruitment among migrants.
“There are more than 340 cases which have become known to us,” said Hans-Georg Maassen, the president of the agency.
But he warned: “These are only the ones we know about. There are probably more cases.”
Germany is in the midst of trying to toughen up its anti-terror laws in the wake of recent events which included a refugee attacking people on a train with an axe and another Isis-controlled migrant blowing himself up with a DIY bomb in the town of Ansbach.
Mr Maassen said that refugee homes were being given information about how to spot radical Islamists at their recruitment work and to report them to authorities.
He added: “It gives us concern if the Salafists and other Islamists are allowed to recruit in this way.”
German politicians are under increasing pressure to speed up the deportation process for tens of thousands of migrants who have been denied asylum but who have managed to work the system to stay in the country.
Ansbach bomber Mohammed Daleel was one such person; he was declared unfit to be deported because of two suicide attempts.
As tensions about refugee numbers continue to rise the leader of the hard right Alternative for Germany party (AfD) came up with a new plan for refugees at the weekend.
Frauke Petry wants to deport rejected and illegal asylum seekers to islands outside of Europe.
Miss Petry demands the setting up of a “return migration authority” which will “bring illegal migrants and rejected asylum seekers on to two islands protected by the United Nations outside Europe.
“Unaccompanied men should be separated from women or families. This is more secure than the current practice, less expensive and above all safer for women”, so Miss Petry who did not specify which islands she had in mind.
Chancellor Merkel, at the political rally in the town of Neustrelitz, tried to allay fears among the public by saying that she wants more security personnel “with more powers to intervene.
Mrs Merkel added: “Through digitialisation, through social media, through the so-called Darknet that played a role in the gun rampage in Munich, we must adapt constantly and permanently adapt our strategies.
The Chancellor said. “What used to be just video surveillance will soon be including face detection technology.”
Mrs Merkel’s reference to the Dark Net alluded to the unregulated, secret side of cyberspace where disturbed Ali Sonboly, 18, bought a weapon for less than £100 to murder nine people in July before killing himself.