- Aug 1, 2014
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
BERLIN — Saif Ali grew nervous when he met his six Syrian bunkmates in a Munich refugee camp after finally making it to Germany late last year.
“They were strong supporters of the Nusra Front,” said the Iraqi refugee, referring to the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group fighting in the Syrian conflict. “I was praying five times a day, to hide my beliefs from them. They did not force me to, but I did not feel secure.”
Ali, 21, is an atheist and said his lack of religion was one reason he fled Iraq. He worried that if his bunkmates knew, they would consider him an apostate and beat him up — or worse.
A survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center released this week found about half to three-quarters of Europeans, depending on the country, said the wave of refugees raises the risk of terrorist attacks in their countries.
“I see many extremists,” said Bader Khaishah, 28, a Syrian refugee at a Munich refugee camp. “I cannot be certain, but they have strong tendencies (toward militancy). I can feel this from the extremist tunes on their mobile phones, their injuries and their reaction when discussing the incidents in our region.”
Jamal Jabur, 32, an Iraqi refugee in Esslingen, Germany, said he met three men who claimed they previously fought for the Islamic State. Two of the men, from Ramadi, Iraq, were forced into the militant group, he said. But a third, from the Iraqi city of Mosul, believed in the Islamic State’s cause and often chastised anyone who didn’t follow the group’s harsh interpretation of Islam.
"Within a few days in the refugees' camp in Germany, I met three former ISIS members," he said, shaking his head. “There are lots of them. Many are escaping the service with ISIS, but they seem to be dangerous. I felt afraid to tell the camp administration about them.”
"They are happy with the German attitude of welcoming other cultures and see it a suitable environment to spread Islam," he said. "They say, 'Germans are good, and we should save them.'"
Migrants say Muslim radicals are frequently encountered in migrant camps in Europe.