I'll be traveling to Germany soon to do some on-the-ground reporting on this issue, so needless to say, I found this latest news of great interest. From the Telegraph:
A major German security operation targeted "dangerous" Islamist extremists in dawn raids by 850 police officers on 70 mosques, schools and homes across Germany.
Hans-Peter Friedrich,Germany's interior minister, banned one Salafist network, Millatu Ibrahim, for "working against our constitutional order and against understanding between peoples."
He also announced an investigation into two other networks, Dawa FFM and "The True Religion," with a view to a seeking additional bans.
"We are ready to defend freedom and fundamental rights in this country and I hope this is understood by those who are of a different opinion," he said.
The Daily Telegraph understands that the raids followed a discussion of the risk posed by a pan-European network of Salafist Islamists at an EU meeting of interior ministers, including Theresa May, the Home Secretary, last week.
Last month, the G6 group of interior ministers from the EU's biggest countries met in Munich to discuss "suspicious patterns of movement.
Secret intelligence gathered by police and anti-terrorism officers across Europe gave "cause for concern" in Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands and Austria, said an official.
According to leaked documents, the German interior ministry decided to launch the raids and to ban Millatu Ibrahim, based in the western town of Solingen, after an explosive vest was found during a search of premises in Berlin last month.
"The vest is a further sign of the organisation's underlying aggression," the document said.
At the beginning of May, German authorities opened investigations into 44 members of the Islamic Salafist sects and 37 others after violent clashes with police in Solingen.
A 23-year-old man from Birmingham was also arrested in the raid under a European Arrest Warrant in an unrelated matter.
He is wanted for failing to appear in court on fraud charges and is now awaiting transfer back to the UK, a spokesman for West Midlands Police said.
The ultraconservative Salafists, with origins in Saudi Arabia, want to establish Sharia law in Europe and came to the attention of the authorities with a drive to convert non-Muslims by handing out 25 million copies of the Koran in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Previous police investigations have found audio and video messages in which the Salafists proclaimed war against democracy and threatened "unbelievers."
One of the reasons this blog has been a bit quiet over the past few weeks is that I've been busy working around-the-clock to set up some great interviews for my upcoming Europe trip. Stay tuned for more details.