Special services of Germany prevented the terrorist attack, in preparation of which the Chechen from Chechnya is suspected. The alleged offender was detained, explosives were found in his apartment during the search. It turned out that he was a supporter of Salafism – a radical current in Islam. Although until now Chechens were not involved in terrorist attacks in Europe, German politicians and journalists sounded the alarm: the diaspora can be connected with the “Islamic state” *. The authorities are ready to toughen the already strict requirements for granting asylum to Chechens, as well as migrants from other countries.
The German media report on the links of the Chechen diaspora with radical Islamist organizations, including the IG *. The evidence is cited by reports of special services, in which migrants from the North Caucasus are regarded as the main source of extremism, especially for the eastern and northern lands. “Chechens in Germany dominate in the Salafist environment and are capable of terrorist attacks,” the report of the Federal Service for the Protection of the Constitution cites in Focus magazine .
The German special services believe that the Chechens will not change extremist views, while in the country there is no “state repression against the Salafis.” Responsibility for radicalization of immigrants from the North Caucasus rests with the authorities, who for a long time indiscriminately accepted Chechens: “The status of refugees was often received by those who were in the development of Russian special services, but they did not consider it necessary to consult them.”
The patriarchal way is suspicious
The people from Chechnya are not the first to come to the attention of German journalists. Although the Chechen diaspora in Germany is few in number and, according to statistics, crimes are most often committed by people from North Africa and the Balkans, in the top of local news it turns out to be criminal stories with the participation of Caucasians.
The Germans are also worried by the combat experience gained by the Chechens in the two military campaigns. In the IG * in the Middle East natives of this North Caucasian republic are considered elite fighters.
The Chechen diasporas in Europe live in a closed way, strictly adhere to national traditions, contact basically with each other and do not seek integration. Western values do not meet their understanding, which sometimes leads to crimes.
In addition, in a patriarchal Chechen family, violence is considered an acceptable way of resolving conflicts.
It is not surprising that Chechens are receptive to the ideas of radical Islam. The situation is aggravated by the fact that in Germany the boundaries between the supporters of ultra-conservative Islam and organized crime are blurred.
After reports of the terrorist attack that was being prepared, the journalists called on the authorities to take action against the Salafis. “The prevented terrorist act in Berlin is proof that Chechens perceive Germany not only as a refuge, but also as a space for jihadist activity,” the media state.
Waves of migration
The Chechen diaspora in Germany has about 40 thousand people. Only in the last two years about five thousand people from the North Caucasus arrived in the eastern and northern regions of the country. But in the Federal Republic of Germany there are now almost two million refugees, so the share of Chechens is no more than two percent.
The reasons for which they seek asylum have changed more than once in a quarter of a century. After the first military campaign in the mid-1990s, people from Chechnya explained the departure from their homeland of persecution for political views.
The defeat of the radicals during the second Chechen campaign caused a new flow of migrants. Many did not even think of abandoning Islamist views, as Moscow repeatedly warned European politicians. But the Chechens were still perceived in the West as fighters for independence.
Refugees of the third wave, of the tenth years, complain of oppression and humanitarian problems in their homeland. Among them, many are those who expect to improve their financial situation through resettlement to Europe.
Many Chechens in Germany have children. But even they were not fully integrated into European society – because of the conservative views of family members. To become a full-fledged part of the society they are also hampered by the stereotype to which the Germans who identify Caucasians with criminals or terrorists are susceptible.
Salafism vs Sufism
If you look at the statistics of terrorist attacks in Germany, then the fears about the Chechens look somewhat exaggerated. Last year, law enforcement agencies said that there were 11,000 radicals in the country. A real threat is represented by 743 people. Two-thirds of them are German citizens, and not refugees. On the note of the German police 70 Chechens.
The most resonant terrorist attacks in Germany over the past seven years have been committed by people from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
Interviewed by RIA Novosti experts do not exclude that among the Chechens in Europe there are supporters of radical views, but the threat, in their opinion, should not be exaggerated. Observers remind that historically Chechens were followers of Sufism. This direction in Islam is characterized by moderation, preaches asceticism and spirituality.
“Even in the USSR, the residents of Chechnya adhered to Sufi Islam.” During the deportation to Central Asia from 1944 to 1957, they were able to preserve Sufi traditions, “RIA Novosti correspondent Rais Suleimanov, an employee of the National Strategy Institute.
Ideas of Salafism penetrated the North Caucasus and the Volga region in the 1990s thanks to Arab charities and non-governmental organizations. When the first military campaign in Chechnya began, the leader of the separatist movement, Jokhar Dudayev, needed allies and appealed for help to the Middle Eastern countries.
“Wahhabis and Salafis in the Middle East perceived the first war in Chechnya as a jihad, Arab military emissaries and mercenaries went to the republic, and radical Islamist Amir Khattab, who led one of the formations of the self-proclaimed Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, arrived in Jordan and played a significant role in spreading Salafism in Chechnya, “Suleymanov recalled.
This ideology prevailed in the ranks of Chechen fighters after the signing in 1996 of the Khasavyurt agreements, which provided for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of the republic. “Initially, Dudayev and his successor Maskhadov were nationalists, but the Arab mercenaries put the condition that if Chechnya accepts Salafism, a certain part of the society agreed.” Terrorists Shamil Basayev and Doku Umarov were just followers of radical Islam, “explains Nurlan, a Caucasian scholar Gasymov, an expert at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
After the defeat of Islamic radicals in the course of the two Chechen campaigns, the federal troops began to clean up the terrorist underground. As a result, many militants settled in Europe. “Talks about the Chechens being quite influential among the Salafis in the West are not meaningless, but we are talking about those who left the country after two military campaigns,” Suleymanov said.
In the Chechen Republic after the war the Sufi direction of Islam again prevailed. His consistent supporter was the first president, Akhmad Kadyrov, and now the acting head of the republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.
It is noteworthy that the talk of the Chechen diaspora in Germany with the IG * began to speak right now, when the problem of refugees faced the European countries. Nurlan Gasimov points out that Chechens are ahead of all Russian regions in the number of applications for asylum in Germany. Most are refused, but remain illegally.
The expert notes that the panic that has arisen in the press can be explained by the reluctance of the Germans to provide the Chechens with asylum. “It is not out of the question that all these reports of German special services have appeared to strengthen fears of refugees in the society, it is doubtful that the Chechen Salafis in Germany are the most active, even among those who moved to Europe, they belong to the Sufi direction of Islam Naqshbandi,” Gasimov said.
The Islamist Vsevolod Zolotukhin agrees with him: “Any current in any religion that literally interprets sacred texts, demanding blind faith, leads to more or less any radicalization.” On the other hand, almost any ideology can be radicalized if for this there are real economic and social and political grounds. “