Germany bans Salafist Muslim group

BERLIN (Reuters) - German authorities carried out raids in several locations in Berlin and Brandenburg on Thursday after banning a Berlin Salafist Muslim group, police said.

Berlin's senate department for interior affairs on Thursday said it had banned a "jihad-salafist" association Jama'atu Berlin, also known as Tauhid Berlin, and that police had undertaken the raids, without giving further details.

German newspaper Tagesspiegel said the group glorified "Islamic State" fighting on the internet and called for the killing of Jews, adding that criminal proceedings were pending against some of its members.

The newspaper added that the group had contact with Anis Amri, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker with Islamist links, who hijacked a truck and drove it into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people in 2016.

Salafists - strict Sunni Muslims - include peaceful private people, activists seeking the implementation of Sharia law and militants advocating violence to establish states they might regard as representing true Islam.

The number of Salafists had risen in Germany to an all-time high of 12,150 in 2019, Germany's domestic intelligence said in its annual report last year, listing them among "Islamist extremists".

It said the number of Salafists had more than tripled since 2011 and that the Salafist scene in Germany was going through a consolidation stage, adding that followers were keeping a low profile in public.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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