The following is a chronological survey of some of the main stories about Islam and Islamism in Germany during the second half of 2017. Part 1 of this series can be found here.
July 4. Germany's BfV domestic intelligence agency warned that Salafism is the "fastest-growing Islamic movement in Germany." Its annual report revealed that the number of Salafists in Germany jumped to 9,700 in 2016, up from 8,350 in 2015; 7,000 in 2014; 5,500 in 2013; 4,500 in 2012; and 3,800 in 2011. BfV President Hans-Georg Maaßen said that Germany should brace for further jihadist attacks given growing numbers of potential Islamist militants: "We must expect further attacks by individuals or terror groups. Islamist terrorism is the biggest challenge facing the BfV and we see it as one of the biggest threats facing the internal security of Germany."
July 5. Saleh A., Mahood B. and Hamza C., appeared in court on charges of plotting suicide bombings in Düsseldorf's historic old town. The attack, using explosive vests, was to be financed with money extorted from the Vatican.
July 8. A hundred Islamists are now openly enforcing Sharia law on the streets of Berlin, according to local police. The self-appointed morality police involve Salafists from Chechnya, a predominantly Sunni Muslim region in Russia. The vigilantes are using threats of violence to discourage Chechen migrants from integrating into German society; they are also promoting the establishment of a parallel Islamic legal system in Germany. German authorities appear unable to stop them.
July 9. Up to 300,000 migrants from Syria and Iraq were poised to arrive in Germany on so-called family reunification visas, according to Die Welt.
July 12. A report by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the federal government's central institution for monitoring and preventing diseases, confirmed an across-the-board increase in disease since 2015, when Germany took in an unprecedented number of migrants. The Infectious Disease Epidemiology Annual Report — which provides data on the status of more than 50 infectious diseases in Germany during 2016 — offered the first glimpse into the public health consequences of the massive influx of migrants in late 2015.
July 15. Migrants sexually assaulted several women at a folk festival in Schorndorf. When police tried to arrest the perpetrators, hundreds of migrants, many armed with knives, came to their defense. Police were required to call in for back-up from across the region to restore order. "The violence against police officers was frightening," police spokesman Ronald Krötz said.
July 16. Three teenagers "phenotypically of North African origin" assaulted a 39-year-old man on a tram in Berlin because he was wearing a wooden cross.
July 17. Mohammed A., a 27-year-old Lebanese man serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence at a Berlin prison for armed robbery, vowed to carry out jihadist attacks upon his release, according to an analysis of his mobile phone. The threats came to light after police seized the phone during a raid on his prison cell. The man, who was radicalized in prison, was found to have maintained extensive contacts with Islamists across Germany.
July 17. A 26-year-old migrant from Sudan sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl from Serbia at a refugee shelter in Braunschweig. More than a hundred Serbians attempted to deliver street justice before police intervened.
July 19. German media failed honestly to report the migration crisis, according to a 200-page study by the Otto Brenner Foundation. German newspapers, rather than being objective critics of the government's open-door migration policy, actively advocated for such a policy and sought to silence critics of mass migration by accusing them of xenophobia. "A large segment of the media misjudged their professional role and neglected the enlightening function of their media," the report said.
July 20. Germany's court system was on the verge of collapse due to the massive number of cases challenging asylum decisions, according to Robert Seegmüller, head of the Association of German Administrative Law Judges. Around 250,000 asylum decisions are being challenged in the courts. "The situation is dramatic for administrative courts," he said. "We are now completely stretched to our limits. The administrative court system cannot endure such a figure in the long run. At some point, everything will collapse."
July 23. Germany's Central Council of Jews accused the government of not doing enough to combat rising anti-Semitism. "In some districts in major cities, I would advise people against identifying themselves as Jews," council president Josef Schuster said in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag. "Experience has shown that openly wearing a skullcap or a necklace with the Star of David is enough to attract verbal or physical threats. Anti-Semitic prejudices are especially widespread among Muslim students."
July 24. The Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) ruled that the deportation of so-called Gefährder, potentially dangerous persons, even if they have not been convicted of a crime, is constitutional. The case was brought by an Algerian national who arrived in Germany in 2003. In March 2017, Bremen's interior minister deemed him to be a "dangerous person" potentially planning a jihadist attack. The Algerian claimed that the deportation order against him was unconstitutional. The court ruled that he could be deported provided that the Algerian government would protect his human rights.
July 25. A 39-year-old migrant sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl on a subway train in Stuttgart. The suspect was detained and released. A "southern-looking" (südländisch Aussehen) sexually assaulted a 30-year-old woman in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim. A 19-year-old Syrian asylum seeker sexually assaulted a 29-year-old woman on a bus in Neu-Ulm.
July 26. Sven Lau, a 35-year-old convert to Islam from Mönchengladbach, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for helping to fund and equip jihadists in Syria. The charges against Lau dated back to 2013, when he recruited two Salafists living in Germany to join an Islamic State-linked jihadist group in Syria. Lau gained notoriety in 2014, when he founded the "Sharia Police." Members of the group patrolled streets in Wuppertal in a bid to enforce sharia law there.
July 27. A 31-year-old Somali was arrested for attempting to rape a 21-year-old woman in Kassel. He was detained by two passersby who held him until police arrived. An "Indian-looking" (vermutlich indischer Herkunft) man sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl at the central railway station in Tübingen. A 46-year-old father at an amusement park in Leipzig with his family was stabbed and seriously injured by a group of Afghan youths.
July 28. A 52-year-old German citizen of Algerian origin stabbed to death his 39-year-old ex-wife and her four-year-old son in Teningen. The woman had a restraining order against the man after a failed marriage.
July 28. Ahmad A., a 28-year-old Palestinian failed asylum seeker, stabbed seven people, one fatally, at a supermarket in Hamburg. The suspect, carrying a 20-cm (8-inch) kitchen knife, shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is the Greatest") and said that he hoped to die as a martyr, but he survived. Hamburg Interior Minister Andy Grote said the suspect "was known as an Islamist but not a jihadist." He also said the suspect had "psychological" issues.
July 29. Three North African migrants ambushed, assaulted and robbed a couple at a park in central Stuttgart.
July 30. A 34-year-old Iraqi-Kurdish asylum seeker armed with an M16 machine gun, at a night club in Konstanz, opened fire, killing one and seriously injuring three others. The attacker, known to local authorities for previous offenses, was shot and killed by police, who attributed the incident to a family dispute.
July 31. German Muslims established a self-styled biker gang — modelled on the Hells Angels — aimed at protecting fellow Muslims from the "ever-growing hatred of Islam." The emergence of the group, whose members apparently aspired to open chapters in cities and towns across Germany, alarmed German authorities, who have warned against the growing threat of vigilantism in the country.
August 1. A poll for Bild am Sonntag found that climate change was the most important issue for German voters ahead of the September 24 elections: 71% said their top personal concern was climate change; 63% said Islamic terrorism and 45% said the migration crisis.
August 2. The Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA) reported 36,755 attacks against German police in 2016 — or an average of 100 per day, a significant increase over previous years. The epicenter of the problem in 2016 was North Rhine-Westphalia (8,929 incidents), the state with the largest migrant population, followed by: Bavaria (4,930); Baden-Württemberg (4,355); Berlin (3,154); Lower Saxony (3,030); Hesse (1,870); Saxony (1,573); Rhineland-Palatinate (1,537); Hamburg (1,339); Thüringen (1,228); Schleswig-Holstein (1,237); Brandenburg (1,009); Saxony-Anhalt (899); Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (658); Saarland (521); and Bremen (486).
August 8. Prosecutors in Saarbrücken launched an investigation into Laleh Hadjimohamadvali, an Iranian-born candidate for German parliament, after she said at a campaign rally that Islam is "worse than the plague."
August 11. Hassan A., a 38-year-old Syrian refugee in Saarbrücken, was sentenced to two years in prison for attempting to defraud the Islamic State of €180,000 ($221,000). The man had tried to persuade what he believed to be Islamic State operatives to send him money to purchase camouflage vehicles to be used in jihadist attacks. The court determined that the man had "neither the capability nor the will" to carry out attacks and wanted to keep the money, which was never sent, for himself.
August 11. A 37-year-old Afghan in Leipzig stabbed to death his 34-year-old wife, who was pregnant with their third child. The couple's two children were present during the murder.
August 16. The State Parliament of Lower Saxony approved a law banning full-face Islamic veils in public schools. The law was approved by all parties in parliament following complaints that a growing number of female students were wearing niqabs, full face veils, in Lower Saxony schools. Local Muslim organizations criticized the law as "populist" and "counterproductive." Proponents of the law viewed it as a first step toward achieving a nationwide ban.
August 18. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on Turks in Germany to vote against all the major parties in the September 24 general elections. "I am calling on all my countrymen in Germany: the Christian Democrats, SDP, the Green Party are all enemies of Turkey. Support those political parties who are not enemies of Turkey," Erdogan said in Istanbul, urging ethnic Turks in Germany to "teach a lesson" to those parties.
August 22. In an interview with Bild, Chancellor Angela Merkel answered critics of her desire to continue in power by saying that the longer she rules, the better she gets: "I've decided to run for another four years and believe that the mix of experience and curiosity and joy that I have could make the next four years good ones."
August 23. At least 469 people — more than one a day — were stabbed in Bremen in 2016, according to official documents obtained by Bild. Another 165 knife attacks were registered in nearby Bremerhaven, a 75% increase since 2014. Migrants, according to Bild, were found responsible for most of the violence.
August 27. In an interview with Die Welt, Chancellor Angela Merkel was asked if she had any regrets about her decision to allow more than a million mostly male Muslims into Germany. "All of the important decisions I made in 2015 I would make again," she said.
August 29. A poll for Bild found that the majority of Germans reject the idea of refugees bringing additional family members Germany: 58% percent of those surveyed rejected refugee family reunifications; 42% supported it.
September 2. German authorities were hunting for dozens of members of Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the most violent jihadist groups in Syria, who entered Germany disguised as refugees. The men, all former members of Liwa Owais al-Qorani, a rebel group destroyed by the Islamic State in 2014, are believed to have massacred hundreds of Syrians, both soldiers and civilians. German police reportedly identified around 25 of the jihadists and apprehended some of them, but dozens more are believed to be hiding in cities and towns across Germany.
September 6. A woman wearing a niqab physically assaulted a 40-year-old saleswoman at a fashion boutique in Berlin-Neukölln. The woman apparently was angry that the store was selling lingerie next to Islamic headscarves. The attacker remains at large.
September 9. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière called on the European Union to standardize the welfare benefits for asylum seekers: "It cannot be that the standards are so different between Romania, Finland, Portugal or Germany. Germany is the country where most want to live, because our procedural and reception conditions are generous compared to other European countries, and because the benefits paid to refugees are quite high compared to other EU countries. This is part of the pull factor (Sogeffekts) to Germany."
September 12. A 23-year-old Afghan convert to Christianity was assaulted at a subway station in Berlin-Neukölln by two passersby who objected to his wearing a cross.
September 16. Two Afghan migrants, aged 27 and 17, raped a 16-year-old girl near a migrant shelter in Munich.
September 21. In Cologne, hundreds of rush-hour trains were delayed after a 29-year-old Iranian migrant climbed onto the Hohenzollern Bridge during rush hour in to protest the rejection of his asylum application.
September 22. Nearly half (45%) of all crime suspects in Berlin in 2016 were migrants, according to official statistics published by the Berliner Morgenpost. Migrants were responsible for 90% of purse snatchings, 85% of heroin-related crimes and 80% of car thefts.
September 22. A parliamentary report found that Chancellor Angela Merkel should not have opened German borders to mass migration in September 2015 without first seeking approval from parliament.
September 22. The German parliament approved a ban on face coverings for drivers. The new rules include a ban not only on burqas and niqabs, but to any facial covering, including, for instance, carnival masks and face-obscuring hoods. Lawmakers said the measure was necessary to "ensure that a driver's identity can be determined," including by automatic cameras installed to catch speeders. The legislation stipulates a fine of €60 ($72) for individuals who partially or fully cover their face while behind the wheel. The Central Council of Muslims in Germany criticized the new law, calling it "politics of symbolism."
September 24. Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term in office, but her center-right CDU/CSU alliance won only 33% of the vote, its worst electoral result in nearly 70 years. Merkel's main challenger, Martin Schulz and his center-left SPD, won 20.5%, the party's worst-ever showing. The real winner of the German election was the Alternative for Germany (AfD), an upstart party that harnessed widespread anger over Merkel's decision to allow into the country more than a million mostly Muslim migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The AfD won around 13% of the vote to become the country's third-largest party. It was followed by the classical liberal Free Democrats (FDP) with 10.7%, the far-left Linke party with 9.2% and the environmentalist Greens with 8.9%.
September 26. The trial began in Celle of Abu Walaa, a 33-year-old Iraqi, charged with being the chief recruiter in Germany for the Islamic State. He faced charges of belonging to a foreign terrorist organization and funding terrorism. The trial is set to end in January 2018.
October 1. The Network Enforcement Act (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, NetzDG) — also known as the Facebook law — entered into force. The measure requires social media platforms with more than two million users to remove "blatantly illegal" hate speech within 24 hours, and less obviously illegal content within seven days, or face fines of up to €50 million ($58 million). Critics argue that the definition of hate speech is ambiguous and subjective and that the new law is a threat to online free speech. The German government plans to apply the law even more widely — including to content on social media networks of any size, according to Der Spiegel.
October 2. Germany's partial ban on face coverings "must be expanded" to include a full ban on the burqa in public, said Andreas Scheuer, the secretary general of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU). "A ban is possible and necessary," he said a day after a burqa ban went into effect in neighboring Austria. "We will not give up our identity, we are ready to fight for it, the burqa does not belong to Germany," he said. The deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Stephan Harbarth, said that the partial ban "goes to the limit" of what is constitutionally possible: "I fear that a more far-reaching ban would not be compatible with the Basic Law."
October 3. Beatrix von Storch, the deputy leader of the anti-immigration party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), said that political Islam has no place in Germany. "Islam does not belong to Germany," she told the BBC. "We are in favor of religious freedom of course, but Islam is claiming political power, and this is what we oppose."
October 3. Approximately 1,000 mosques in Germany opened their doors to visitors as part of the 20th annual "Day of Open Mosques." The event, which has been held since 1997 on Germany's national holiday, the Day of German Unity, was conducted under the slogan "Good Neighborhood - Better Society," and aimed at creating transparency and reducing prejudice.
October 4. A 47-year-old migrant from Kazakhstan at a refugee shelter in Eggenfelden castrated a 28-year-old Ukrainian migrant, who bled to death at the scene. It later emerged that the Kazakh man had been raped by the Ukrainian man, who was aided and abetted by a group of migrants from Chechnya. The case drew attention to runaway crime in German refugee shelters.
October 5. The German government plans to cut project funding for the Turkish Islamic organization DITIB by around 80% next year, according to the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. The Interior Ministry appropriated €297,500 ($345,000) for 2018, compared to €1.47 million for 2017, and €3.27 million for 2016. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been accused of using DITIB — part of Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs, to control over 900 mosques in Germany — to prevent Turkish immigrants from integrating into German society.
October 7. Roughly 60 migrant teenagers attacked each other and police at the 70th annual Harvest Festival in Fellbach. Police described the youths as "exclusively German citizens with a migration background and other migrants." The youths were said to be engaged in "turf wars."
October 8. Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to cap the number of refugees Germany accepts each year to 200,000. The move was a concession to her conservative Bavarian allies ahead of coalition talks to form a new government. The refugee-cap deal was also interpreted as extending an olive branch to the more than one million Christian Democrats who have defected to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in anger over Merkel's open-door migration policy.
On October 8, German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to cap the number of refugees Germany accepts each year to 200,000. Pictured: Merkel in December 2014. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
October 9. Thieves broke into an immigration office in the Moabit district of Berlin and stole up to 20,000 blank passports and other immigration documents as well as official stamps and seals.
October 9. An off-the-cuff proposal by Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to introduce Muslim public holidays sparked a furious debate over the role of Islam in Germany. Speaking at a campaign rally for state elections in Lower Saxony, de Maizière, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said that federal states with large Muslim populations should be allowed to celebrate Muslim public holidays. De Maizière's statement, apparently aimed at enticing Muslim voters, prompted a furious backlash from his own party and political allies, who are still reeling from the CDU's poor results in the general election on September 24.
October 11. The Interior Ministry of Lower Saxony approved a temporary ban on additional refugees from settling in Salzgitter, a city with a high rate of immigration. The immigration restriction, the first of its kind in Germany, is to be reviewed annually.
October 12. A 28-year-old migrant from Nigeria was sentenced to 13 years in prison for stabbing to death a 22-year-old assistant at a refugee shelter in Ahaus near Münster. According to the prosecutor, the two had been in a romantic relationship, and when the woman ended it, the Nigerian, in a jealous rage, stabbed her 21 times. Criminal charges were reduced, however, from murder to manslaughter because the court could not decide if the killing was premeditated.
October 12. An official inquiry into the jihadist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016 concluded that the attack could have been prevented, according to Der Spiegel. The 72-page report described the performance of police and prosecutors as "poor," "inadequate," "belated," "flawed" and "unprofessional." It also noted that the Berlin Attorney General's Office missed repeated opportunities to arrest Anis Amri, a failed asylum seeker from Tunisia, in the months before he carried out his attack.
October 12. Hezbollah combatants have entered Germany disguised as refugees from the Middle East, according to a German intelligence report reviewed by The Jerusalem Post. The report also showed increased membership for Hezbollah and Hamas in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Around 950 Hezbollah operatives are active in Germany, according to German intelligence.
October 13. An entire wing of a hospital in Bonn was closed after an outbreak of scabies. The area was cleaned and disinfected and sick patients were sent to an isolation ward. The number of people diagnosed with scabies in North Rhine-Westphalia jumped by nearly 3,000% between 2013 and 2016, according to local health officials.
October 14. The trial began in Oldenburg of a 37-year-old migrant from Iraq accused of stabbing his wife, the mother of his five children, who were in the house at the time of the attack. According to the indictment, the Iraqi is said to have murdered his wife in May 2017, by stabbing her at least nine times to restore the "family honor" after he believed she was having an affair with another man. The woman had, in fact, been attending German language courses.
October 14. A mass brawl at a migrant shelter in Dortmund resulted in the stabbing of a 28-year-old migrant. When police attempted to arrest the 19-year-old suspect, they were attacked by a mob of more than 40 migrants. Police used dogs to restore order.
October 16. An 18-year-old Algerian, in Germany illegally, randomly drew a knife on a 65-year-old man in a wheelchair at the central railway station in Mönchengladbach.
October 18. Hans-Georg Maaßen, the head of Germany's BfV domestic intelligence agency, warned that a new generation of junior jihadists posed a long-term threat to Germany. "We see the danger that children of jihadists indoctrinated in Islamism will return from combat zones to Germany," he said. At least 950 German jihadists have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State as of October 2017, according to the BfV. Of those, most are under 30 years of age; one-fifth are women; one-third have returned to Germany, and around 150 have been killed on the battlefield. German intelligence is currently monitoring 80 returnees.
October 22. The German justice is overwhelmed with terrorist proceedings, according to Welt am Sonntag, which reported that the Federal Prosecutor's Office opened more than 900 terrorism cases during the first nine months of 2017. Of those cases, more than 800 involved Islamists. "Given the backlog, we need significantly more staff at both the prosecutor's office and the courts," said Wolfgang Kubicki of the Free Democrats (FDP). "If Islamists are not German nationals, deportation should be compulsory and enforced."
October 22. About 80 Turkish Germans in the Bavarian town of Waldkraiburg called for local authorities to do more to protect them from violent attacks by asylum seekers. The protest came amid a spate of clashes in the town between Turks and newcomers from Africa and the Middle East. Turkish protesters said they were no longer safe on streets or in parks and threatened to take matters into their own hands if police failed to deport criminal migrants.
October 23. A court in Frankfurt ruled that Haikel S., a 36-year-old jihadist from Tunisia, cannot be deported because Tunisian authorities failed to promise that the man would not be jailed for the rest of his life. Haikel S. was arrested in February 2017 for allegedly planning a jihadist attack in Germany on behalf of the Islamic State. He is also wanted in Tunisia on terrorism charges.
October 24. The anti-immigration party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), vowed a "new era" as it made its debut at the first sitting of Germany's newly elected parliament. The AfD's parliamentary group chief, Bernd Baumann, said: "Take note: the old Bundestag has been voted out. The people have decided, a new era begins now. From this hour on, the issues will be renegotiated — not your maneuvers and tricks on parliamentary business but the euro, massive debt, enormous immigration numbers, open borders and brutal criminality in our streets."
October 24. Violent crime, including murder, rape and physical assault, is running rampant in German asylum shelters, according to an intelligence report leaked to the newspaper, Bild. German authorities, who seem unwilling to stem the rising tide of violence, justified their failure to inform the public about the scale of the problem by citing the privacy rights of the criminal offenders.
October 24. Authorities in Hamburg paid €2.4 million ($2.8 million) during the past 12 months for a mostly disused deportation shelter, according to the Hamburger Morgenpost. Only 84 migrants were deported from Hamburg during the past year, at a cost to taxpayers of around €28,500 ($33,000) per migrant.
October 25. Germany deported 14 rejected Afghan asylum seekers. Eleven of the deportees had criminal records for acts that included manslaughter, causing grievous bodily harm, sexual abuse of children, fraud and theft, according to interior ministry spokeswoman Annegret Korff. Greens MP Claudia Roth called on the government to stop the deportations. She argued that Afghanistan is unsafe for returnees: "Expulsions to Afghanistan clearly violate our responsibility to provide humanitarian protection."
October 28. More than 50 migrants from Africa and the Middle East attacked each other with knives and other weapons at the train station in Unna. Police from across North Rhine-Westphalia were deployed to restore order.
October 28. A migrant verbally assaulted a Roman Catholic priest at a supermarket in Werl. He grabbed the priest's shopping cart and shoved it back and forth while shouting, "You unbeliever! You pig!" The priest called police, who told him that he was responsible for his own personal safety.
October 29. Police in Spain arrested a fugitive 33-year-old Pakistani migrant, accused by authorities in Hamburg of murdering his two-year-old daughter by cutting her throat. Police say the murder was an act of revenge against his German wife, who had reported him for spousal abuse
, and refused to withdraw the charges. The Pakistani man's asylum application was rejected in 2011; he should have been deported in 2012 , but was allowed to stay.
October 31. Yamen A., a 19-year-old Syrian migrant who described himself as a "soldier of the caliphate," was arrested in Schwerin and charged with planning a jihadist attack aimed at killing "as many people as possible." It later emerged that German authorities granted him refugee status and a three year residency permit without ever interviewing him in person.
November 1. Hundreds of male migrants were questioned and more than 30 detained on Halloween in Cologne. At least three women were sexually assaulted. Police said that most of the suspects were of Arab or North African descent.
November 2. Around 30,000 rejected asylum seekers have disappeared and the government has no idea where they are, according to Bild.
November 3. The traditional Christmas market in Berlin was protected by walls of concrete barriers to prevent a repeat of the 2016 jihadist attack in which 12 people were killed and more than 50 injured.
November 6. Germany's Constitutional Court rejected a lawsuit by Muslim parents who wanted their son to be exempt from the religious teachings at a publicly funded Catholic school in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. According to the court, the boy's parents did not make a strong enough argument for the judges to consider the case.
November 9. More than 200 churches were damaged in Bavaria in 2017, according to The European. Most of the vandalism was attributed to Muslim immigrants. Professor Friedrich Wilhelm Graf said that while attacks on religious symbols have always existed, "the climate has undoubtedly become more aggressive."
November 10. A 23-year-old Syrian man was arrested for raping a pony at a popular children's zoo in Berlin's Görlitzer Park. The incident, which occurred in broad daylight, was witnessed by a babysitter, who photographed the man and called police.
November 11. A 28-year-old Kazakh-German held a 31-year-old clerk at a youth welfare office in Pfaffenhofen hostage at knifepoint for more than five hours. He said he disagreed with the results of a custody battle, in which his one-year-old daughter would be sent to a foster home.
November 13. Sex and drug crimes in Berlin's Alexanderplatz nearly doubled during the first six months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016, according to police statistics published by Die Welt.
November 13. The Upper Administrative Court in Münster denied a request by two Muslim associations to introduce religious lessons in schools in North Rhine-Westphalia. The court ruled that the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) and the Islamrat ("Islam council") did not fulfill all of the criteria of a religious association as defined by the German constitution, and therefore could not claim the same privileges that the Protestant and Catholic churches have in Germany.
November 14. German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel for opening Germany to "millions" of migrants. On French television, he said:
"One cannot — even if there are decades between them — kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place. I know someone in Germany who took in a young Syrian and after four days said, 'The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust.'"
November 15. In Gießen, a 29-year-old Kosovar and a 19-year-old Albanian drew a knife on an undercover detective who caught them shoplifting. Police said the Kosovar was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant. Two "southern-looking" men (südosteuropäisch Aussehen) drew a knife on two children at a school playground in Gießen and took their lunch money.
November 16. Frankfurt politician Rainer Rahn was sued for inciting racial hatred after he made "derogatory" comments about migrants. During a parliamentary debate, Rahn criticized the federal migration commissioner, Aydan Özoguz, for her statement that a specific German culture apart from the language could not be identified because it had always been influenced by external influences and immigration. Rahn responded that the results of migration could be "read in the paper every day." He then read about 30 headlines from different newspapers and magazines about actual or probable crimes of Muslim migrants. "We do not want to read such headlines in the newspaper any longer," he said. Rahn was sued by Martin Kliehm of the far-left Die Linke party.
November 16. Members of the Jewish community in Bochum announced that they will no longer wear skullcaps in public because of attacks on them by Muslim youths.
November 19. Six Syrian jihadists posing as asylum seekers were arrested during police raids on eight homes in Kassel, Hanover, Essen and Leipzig. The men were said to have been plotting to attack a Christmas market in Germany on behalf of the Islamic State.
November 23. The German government reportedly wants to bring back the children of German jihadists who fought in Syria, according the Süddeutsche Zeitung. At least six children — including babies — are currently in detention centers in Iraq. Previously, German intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maaßen warned of the risks arising from older jihadist children: "We see the danger that children of jihadists are indoctrinated. If they return, we could see a new generation of jihadists."
December 3. The Interior Ministry offered to pay migrants €3,000 ($3,700) per family or €1,000 ($1,200) per individual to encourage voluntary departures. Between January and October 2017, only 26,000 rejected asylum seekers left Germany of their own free will.
December 5. An appeals court in Munich acquitted journalist and Islam critic Michael Stürzenberger of all charges over comments in which he called Islam a "fascist ideology." In August, the Munich District Court sentenced him to six months' probation for "insulting religious communities." The original sentence prohibited Stürzenberger from publicly criticizing Islam for the next 3.5 years and ordered him to be imprisoned for six months if he did. The appeals court ruled that his comments are protected by the freedom of expression.
December 7. In response to a parliamentary inquiry, the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office revealed that it had initiated 1,119 terrorism investigations in 2017. Of these, 959 were related to Islamic terrorism, of which 234 involved the Islamic State.
December 8. A court in Freiburg heard that Hussein Khavari, an Afghan man who claimed he was 17 years old to be granted asylum in Germany, is actually 33 years old. The revelation came from Khavari's father, who provided testimony by telephone. Hussein Khavari is accused of raping and strangling Maria Ladenburger, a 19-year-old medical student, in Freiburg, in October 2016. After his arrest, it emerged that he had been arrested and sentenced to ten years for attempted murder in Greece in 2013 before coming to Germany seeking refuge in 2015 as an "unaccompanied minor." Ladenburger, whose father is a senior legal adviser to the European Commission in Brussels, worked in her spare time as a volunteer at migrant shelters in Freiburg.
December 10. The head of Germany's BfV domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maaßen, said that the number of Salafists in Germany had "risen to an all-time high." There were now 10,800 Salafists in Germany, compared to 9,700 in December 2016. Maaßen also said Islamists from the North Caucasus region represented a major threat to security in Germany, with some 500 extremists from republics such as Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia now thought to be living in the country. "The affinity for violence, martial arts and weaponry held by many Islamists from the North Caucasus calls for attention from German security authorities," he said.
December 10. A 47-year-old Senegalese migrant was arrested after he repeatedly spat on the food of patrons at a burger restaurant at the central railway station in Dortmund. When police arrived, he greeted them with a "Hitler salute." Police said he was known to them for previous offenses.
December 12. Two Palestinian supporters of the Islamic State were arrested in Salzgitter. Mahmoud Abu S. and Ahmad Abu S. were said to have promoted jihadist propaganda on the internet. They were charged with support of a foreign terrorist group.
December 13. Anti-Semitism among Muslim migrants is rampant and requires urgent attention, according to a study commissioned by the American Jewish Committee's Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations in Berlin.
December 14. Managers of the Vahrenwalder Bad, a public swimming pool in Hanover, are facing a growing number of problems involving Muslim women, according to Die Welt. "Women go into the water in street clothes, have a picnic on the edge of the pool, dye their hair in the bathroom and leave behind considerable rubbish," the paper reported. "Pool employees are threatened by husbands and brothers. Yes, it's all about Muslim women," city spokeswoman Ulrike Serbent said. "The women come from a different culture. We are working on effective measures."
December 15. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that Muslim immigrants in Germany must reject anti-Semitism. He said it was a "non-negotiable" condition for living in Germany: "There are things which are part of Germany. And one of these is our responsibility for our past: the lessons of two World Wars, the lessons from the Holocaust, the responsibility for Israel's security, the rejection of any form of racism and anti-Semitism. For this responsibility, no line can be drawn under the past for later generations — and no exceptions be made for immigrants. It is non-negotiable — for all who live in Germany and want to live here!"
December 15. Linda W., a 16-year-old German convert to Islam who ran away from home and married a Chechen jihadist in Istanbul, said in a television interview that joining the Islamic State was a "dumb idea" which "completely ruined my life." Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that the girl, who was not in combat and whose husband died on the battlefield, is currently being held in a Baghdad prison and that the Iraqi judiciary will determine whether she will face the death penalty. It remained unclear whether German authorities would request her extradition.
December 18. Approximately half of the 720 people who are classified as "dangerous Islamists" do not pose an immediate threat, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), which used a "novel analysis system" to determine which Islamists pose the greatest threat. The objective is to help police and intelligence agencies better focus limited resources. The National Chairman of the GdP police union, Oliver Malchow, said that complete monitoring of all Islamists is impossible: "First, this interferes with privacy rights, and second, the police use around 24 officers for a 24-hour observation, so there is a lack of capacity."
December 19. A 19-year-old Afghan migrant tried to drown his 17-year-old German girlfriend in a river in Berlin after a relationship dispute. He himself could not swim. Unconscious, he was revived by paramedics who pulled him from the river. The woman survived.
December 20. A school in Lüneburg postponed a Christmas party after a Muslim student complained that singing Christmas carols during school was incompatible with Islam. The school's decision to reschedule the event as a non-compulsory after-school activity generated "a flood of hate mail and even threats against school management and school board."
December 26. The head of German domestic intelligence in North Rhine-Westphalia, Burkhard Freier, said that women were taking the lead in creating parallel societies in Germany, partly because many charismatic male leaders of the Salafist movement are in prison. "In North Rhine-Westphalia, we have a so-called sister network with 40 women in view," he said. "The men have realized that women can network much better and therefore are much more able to connect the Salafist scene and keep it alive. The women are now ideology producers. This makes Salafism a family affair, it begins to create something that is much harder to liquidate, namely Salafist society."
December 31. New Year's Eve celebrations in Berlin included "safe zones" for women for the first time in the city's history. The zones were aimed at preventing mobs of male migrants from sexually assaulting German women. Police Commissioner Rainer Wendt said the zones sent a "devastating" message that there are zones of security and zones of insecurity. From Wendt's point of view, this means the end of equal rights, freedom of movement and self-determination. Women should have a right to be safe everywhere.