German Women Answer the Call (to Jihad)

Posted by John Rosenthal

An article in today’s edition of the Tagesspeigel, the Berlin newspaper that broke a story yesterday on three German women recruited to carry out suicide attacks in Irak and Pakistan, suggests that the phenomenon might have larger dimensions and still more serious implications than the original report indicated. Here some translated excerpts:

According to information available to the Tagesspiegel, apparently up to 47 women of the Muslim faith are supposed to have been recruited for attacks by way of a Turkish-language website… Some two thirds of the women are from Germany, the rest from Belgium and Denmark. Among the women, who are converts to Islam, are to be found the three women who are the subjects of the current reports…. Communication [on the website] took place in Turkish, German, and English in a chatroom that was only accessible to initiates. The matter was investigated by the Hamburg-based company Pan Amp, which specializes in internet security and which provided material on the website to a US intelligence agency.



The website, in which the Turkish word "mucadele" ("resistance") appears, was, moreover, hosted on servers in Germany.



[In addition to alleged connections to Ansar al-Islam,] The operators of the website evidently have close contacts to al-Qaeda. According to investigations conducted by Pan Amp, in Fall 2005 a filmed message from Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden’s first lieutenant, appeared on the website. A still from the film that has been viewed by the Tagesspiegel is of an astonishingly high quality. The later broadcast of the message from Zawahari on the Arabic network al-Jazeera was clearly of worse quality. According to the investigations of Pan Amp, this means that servers in Germany are provided original material from al-Qaeda – before the same material is then passed on as video copies, for example, to al-Jazeera. If this is true, it would constitute evidence of a direct connection of al-Qaeda to Germany. The security experts questioned by the Tagesspiegel refused to take a position on this question – other than to say, as one of them put it: "the whole matter is extremely delicate."


A related story published today in the Berliner Zeitung, another Berlin daily, cites Amir Mohammed Herzog, the chairman of Berlin’s "Islamic Community of German-speaking Muslims", providing the following curious information:

On Herzog’s estimate, of the approximately 235,000 Muslims who live in Berlin around 8000 are converts. Around half are women, among which there figure numerous academics. It is striking, according to Herzog, that the number of conversions has considerably increased since September 11, 2001.

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