Spiraling levels of violent crime perpetrated by immigrants from the Middle East and the Balkans are turning parts of Duisburg, a key German industrial city, into "areas of lawlessness" — areas that are becoming de facto "no-go" zones for police, according to a confidential police report that was leaked to the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel.
The report, produced by the police headquarters of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany (and also the state with the largest Muslim population in Germany), warns that the government is losing control over problem neighborhoods and that the ability of police to maintain public order "cannot be guaranteed over the long term."
Duisburg, which has a total population of around 500,000, is home to an estimated 60,000 mostly Turkish Muslims, making it one of the most Islamized cities in Germany. In recent years, however, thousands of Bulgarians and Romanians (including Sinti and Roma "gypsies") have flocked to Duisburg, creating a volatile ethno-religious cauldron.
According to Der Spiegel:
"There are districts where immigrant gangs are taking over entire metro trains for themselves. Native residents and business people are being intimidated and silenced. People taking trams during the evening and nighttime describe their experiences as 'living nightmares.' Policemen, and especially policewomen, are subject to 'high levels of aggressiveness and disrespect.'
"In the medium term, nothing will change, according to the report. The reasons for this: the high rate of unemployment, the lack of job prospects for immigrants without qualifications for the German labor market and ethnic tensions among migrants. The Duisburg police department now wants to reinforce its presence on the streets and track offenders more consistently.
"Experts have warned for some time that problem neighborhoods could become no-go areas. The president of the German Police Union, Rainer Wendt, told Spiegel Online years ago: 'In Berlin or in the north of Duisburg there are neighborhoods where colleagues hardly dare to stop a car — because they know that they'll be surrounded by 40 or 50 men.' These attacks amount to a 'deliberate challenge to the authority of the state — attacks in which the perpetrators are expressing their contempt for our society.'"
The leak of the document comes amid a spike in attacks on police by mobs of immigrants, not only in Duisburg, but across the country.
In the Duisburg neighborhood of Marxloh, for example, a horde of Lebanese immigrants on June 29 attacked two police officers who were attempting to arrest two men for smoking cannabis on a public sidewalk. Within minutes, the officers were surrounded by more than 100 men who tried to prevent the arrests from taking place. Ten squad cars and dozens of police reinforcements were required to rescue the two officers.
Also in Marxloh, two men who got into a fight on June 24 used their cellphones to call their friends for backup support. Within minutes, more than 300 people had gathered at the scene. At least 100 police officers attempted to separate the two groups, but the mob quickly turned on the police. According to Duisburg police spokesperson Ramon van der Maat, "It happens time and time again, we are called to an incident that at first does not seem so bad. But then we need nine, ten or eleven police cars to restore order."
In Gelsenkirchen, another city in North Rhine-Westphalia, two police officers on July 24 tried to pull over a driver who ran a stoplight. The driver got out of the car and attempted to flee on foot. When police caught up with him, more than 50 people appeared from virtually nowhere to prevent the suspect's arrest. A 15-year-old attacked a policeman from behind and began strangling him, rendering him unconscious. Massive amounts of police reinforcements and pepper spray were needed to bring the situation under control.
In Berlin, some 30 members of rival immigrant gangs got into a fight on June 24 outside a nightclub in the Neukölln district of Berlin. After police arrived, the mob began attacking the officers. More than 60 police officers were needed to restore order.
Also in Berlin, dozens of police officers were deployed to break up a brawl between 50 members of two rival immigrant families at a public playground in Neukölln on June 4. The melee began when two young boys got into a fight, which quickly spiraled out of control after adult family members got involved on behalf of each of the boys.
One day earlier, more than 90 police officers were deployed to break up a fight between 70 members of rival immigrant clans at a public playground in Moabit, an inner city neighborhood in Berlin. The fight began when two women got into an argument over a man, and turned violent after more and more family members got involved. Two police officers were injured.
On June 8, more than 50 police officers were deployed to break up a brawl at a wedding reception for Bosnian immigrants in the Tempelhof district of Berlin. The melee began when two wedding guests got into an argument that led to fisticuffs. Within moments, more than a dozen other people joined in. As soon as the police arrived, however, the rival clans stopped fighting each other and began attacking the officers. One of the wedding guests hit a police officer over the head with a chair; the officer was critically wounded. Other officers were attacked with bottles, while still others were spit upon and verbally abused.
In an interview with the German newsmagazine Focus, the head of the police union in North Rhine-Westphalia, Arnold Plickert, warned of the emergence of no-go zones in the cities of Cologne, Dortmund, Duisburg and Essen. "Several rival rocker groups as well as Lebanese, Turkish, Romanian and Bulgarian clans are fighting for supremacy of the streets," he said. "They make their own rules; here the police have nothing more to say."
In an August 2011 interview with the newspaper Der Westen, Bernhard Witthaut, Chief Police Commissioner of Germany, revealed that immigrants have been imposing "no-go" zones in German cities at an alarming rate.
The interviewer asked Witthaut: "Are there urban areas — for example in the Ruhr — districts and housing blocks that are 'no-go areas,' meaning that they can no longer be secured by the police?" Witthaut replied:
"Every police commissioner and interior minister will deny it. But of course we know where we can go with the police car and where, even initially, only with the personnel carrier. The reason is that our colleagues can no longer feel safe there in twos, and have to fear becoming the victim of a crime themselves. We know that these areas exist. Even worse: in these areas, crimes no longer result in charges. They are left to themselves. Only in the worst cases do we in the police learn anything about it. The power of the state is completely out of the picture."
The threat posed by immigrant clans has been growing for many years. In October 2010, Der Spiegel published an article — "Large Arab Families: The State Cowers in Fear of Criminal Clans" — which warned of the emergence in Germany of a "parallel society of criminality" run by "immigrant mafia clans with thousands of members" who are "taking advantage of legal loopholes, social welfare services and international contacts with dominant organized crime groups." The article said the state was helpless to confront the problem because German authorities were "pussyfooting around."
According to Der Spiegel:
"The gangs traffic in heroin and cocaine, run brothels or are active in the contraband smuggling business. The brutality with which they carry out their activities has made them very powerful, the police are afraid of them. The state is passive with respect to these clans, the politicians ignore the phenomenon.
"This negligence has, over the years, enabled the emergence of a criminal parallel society. This would not have happened if the authorities had acted early and decisively: As early as 2004, a Commission of the Federal Criminal Police (BKA) warned that the ethnic groups were out of control and also warned about the so-called Mhallamiye-Kurds [an Arab-speaking ethnic group with roots in southern Anatolia], including the Bremen-based clan known as Family M.
"At the time, special investigators from federal and state governments criticized the lack of any efforts at integration and attacked the German judiciary. It was said that due to misconceived tolerance, the courts exacerbated the problems with their persistent lenience.
"The report warned of 'insular ethnic subcultures that were already firmly established under considerable abuse of the existing weaknesses of the federal government's immigration and asylum law.'
"Today these criminal structures are so entrenched that they 'could only be partially dismantled,' and this only with the support and cooperation of 'all relevant authorities, judicial assistance and the expansion of criminal tactical investigative measures.' In other words: actually never."
The article reveals that some delinquents possess more than a dozen different identities, and that it is common for them to continue collecting social welfare benefits because German privacy laws prevent police from being informed of a suspect's whereabouts.
According to a police investigator interviewed by Der Spiegel, the immigrant clans "view German society as one to be plundered; they see us as born losers." This is unlikely to change anytime soon, he added, because there are nearly 1,000 children in the clans in Bremen alone.
In her book titled "The End of Patience," the late German juvenile court judge Kirsten Heisig warned about the growing danger posed by the so-called ethno-clans:
"A family, father, mother, 10 to 15 children, in some cases up to 19 children, emigrated from Lebanon. Some children were born in the 'homeland,' others in Germany. Before the mothers give birth to their last child, they already have grandchildren. Therefore, a clan increases at breathtaking speed. In official documents, the nationality of the families is given as 'stateless,' 'unknown,' 'Lebanese' or increasingly 'German.' It refers to government social welfare transfers and child benefits.
"An extended family easily generates hundreds of police investigations. If drug trafficking or other illegal transactions intrude on the turf of a rival clan or even of gangs from different ethnic backgrounds, the problem is solved by killing each other, or at least attempting to do so.
"The female family members are focused predominantly on theft while the males commit crimes from all sectors of the Penal Code: drug and property crimes, threats, robbery, extortion, bodily harm, sexual offenses and pimping to murder. The children grow up largely unchecked in these criminal structures."
According to Roman Reusch, a former top public prosecutor in Berlin, young people born into the immigrant clans "are consistently trained to become professional criminals." He said the youths were growing up in an environment in which "the most serious crimes are completely normal." He added: "They have developed a self-service mentality. They are determined to take whatever they want, whenever they want, and as often as they want." This makes them an "ideal reservoir for the foot soldiers of organized crime."
After Reusch attempted to initiate a crackdown on the clans, he was summarily removed from his post. His politically correct successor had a clear message for how he would henceforth deal with the criminals: "I do not like the word 'toughness.'"
Back in Duisburg, the newspaper Rheinische Post offered a glimpse into the reality of German multiculturalism by means of an interview with a streetcar driver. "I wish I would not have to drive the train through this neighborhood [Marxloh]," he said, adding that he often has to apply the brakes because immigrant children are playing on the tracks. "If they are chased away by the police, they are immediately back again as soon as the officers are gone."
As for those riding the trains, there are far more fare evaders than paying passengers, because conductors are afraid they will be assaulted if they ask immigrants to present their tickets.
Duisburg city councilman Volker Mosblech expressed his frustration with the intractability of the situation in Marxloh: "When I say that steps must be taken to ensure immigrants comply with rules and regulations, I'm immediately branded as a far right extremist. But order is exactly what is needed."
Nearly a half-decade ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that German multiculturalism has "utterly failed." Speaking to a meeting of her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Potsdam in October 2010, Merkel said:
"We are a country which at the beginning of the 1960s actually brought [Muslim] guest workers to Germany. Now they live with us and we lied to ourselves for a while, saying that they will not stay and that they will have disappeared again one day. That is not the reality. This multicultural approach — saying that we simply live side by side and are happy about each other — this approach has failed, utterly failed."
At the time, many voters had hoped that Merkel's comments would transform the debate over mass immigration to Germany. Since then, however, immigration, especially from the Muslim world, has continued unabated.
Germany continues to be the recipient of the largest number of asylum applications in the EU. Germany received more than 200,000 asylum-seekers in 2014, and that number is expected to more than double by the end of 2015.
According to the latest statistics, more than 179,000 people applied for asylum in Germany during the first six months of 2015. Most were from Afghanistan, Albania, Iraq, Kosovo, Serbia and Syria.
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.