Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Deutschland's Growing Nightmare

Media coverage of the plot by British-born Muslims to blow up a number of airliners over the Atlantic has overshadowed the exposure of yet another terrorist plot by two Muslims living in Germany to plant bombs aboard passenger trains. Actually, whereas the British Muslims only plotted to bring explosives onto planes, the Muslims in Germany actually planted their bombs. Fortunately, the bombs failed to go off.

Though the German plot would not have killed as many innocent people as the British airplanes scheme, it could easily have given Germany its own version of Madrid's March 11, 2004, train attacks, which murdered more than 200 people. The two would-be bombers are of Lebanese origin. One was attending Germany universities studying mechatronics.

The discovery of the train plot has sent the same shivers down German spines that many Britons felt after the airlines plot was revealed to the public. Particularly since German officials seem certain that more people were involved.

While there appeared little proof of any direct links between the two men and Hezbollah, Germany's tolerance towards this organization has come to the fore of public attention. According to last year's report from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the country is home to 900 Hezbollah members. The unspoken agreement that has existed between Hezbollah leaders and German authorities was that no attacks would be perpetrated on German soil in exchange for a certain tolerance towards its militants residing in Germany.

Whether Hezbollah has changed its strategy in Germany or just lost control of its activists is of only secondary importance for the Germans, who on August 1 woke up in a different country. Now, it is no longer the Germany that frets about unemployment or a sluggish economy; it is a Germany that faces an almost existential terrorist threat coming from the millions of Muslim immigrants and, as in this case, students living around the country.

The failed integration of Muslim immigrants -- many of them in second and third generations -- into the community at large, a malaise that is slowly paralyzing the whole continent, has been apparent in Germany. This year the situation deteriorated quite rapidly: first, it was the case of an almost ritual murder of a girl of the Turkish origin by her brother who was enraged at her disregard for the strict Islamic traditions; then, it was an appeal by a group of teachers (most of them ethnic Germans) to close down a school, where they have been teaching, because, with a predominantly immigration population, it became too unruly to teach in.

So even though the current terrorist threat does not come from the immigrant population per se, but rather from students who entered Germany for short-term studies, there is absolutely no guarantee that their example will not inspire thousands of alienated and radicalized youngsters, most of them German citizens, to follow the pernicious example.

On some level, the threat emanating from the Muslim student population is even worse: they are largely unknown to the German security forces; they have a much stronger association with what is going on in the Middle East, and they have no attachment to Germany whatsoever. Furthermore, the current mass-production scale of the German university system hardly allows for early detection of such radicalized youngsters: with 500 students sharing a lecture hall, it is next to impossible to remember the names, not mention psychological traits, of the student body. Psychological counseling is still mostly unheard of in German schools.

Known for its financial generosity when it comes to education, Germany spends millions to educate people like Youssef Mohammad and even Mohamed Atta, one of the masterminds of 9/11, who then go on to use their technical expertise to construct bombs and explosives (in all fairness, one should point out that the two train bombs did not explode because they were poorly constructed -- so even the German technical education is no longer as good it used to be).

The steep price of mass immigration from non-Western nations is becoming steadily apparent in Europe. From London to Berlin, wherever the gates were opened, the barbarians came rushing in.


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