- Police knew as early as March 2016 that Anis Amri, the 31-year-old Tunisian who carried out the December 19 jihadist attack on the Christmas market in Berlin, was planning an attack, but he was not deported because he did not have a passport.
- Humboldt University will become the sixth university in Germany to teach Islamic theology. Berlin Mayor Michael Müller revealed that the institute is being paid for by German taxpayers. Humboldt University President Sabine Kunst rejected calls for a joint "Faculty for Theology" for Christians, Muslims and Jews.
- "What is clear is that the financing of mosques by foreign actors must stop." — Jens Spahn, a member of the executive committee of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU).
March 2. A 36-year-old Syrian migrant identified only as Abdalfatah H. A. was arrested in Düsseldorf on charges of murdering 36 people in March 2013 in Syria in the name of the Al-Nusra jihadist group. He arrived in Germany with his pregnant wife and three children, aged three, five and seven, in October 2015. He had been collecting €2,400 ($2,600) a month in social welfare benefits since April 2016.
March 2. Administrators of the Johannes Rau Gymnasium, a secondary school in Wuppertal, asked teachers to prohibit Muslim pupils from engaging in "provocative praying" in public. An internal memo stated: "In recent weeks, it has been increasingly observed that Muslim pupils in the school building are praying, clearly visible to others, signaled by ritual washings in the toilets, the rolling out of prayer mats, and taking up certain postures. This is not permitted."
March 3. An 18-year-old asylum seeker from Somalia was charged with murdering an 87-year-old woman at a retirement home in Neuenhaus. Police said the accused entered the facility through an unlocked back door with the aim of having sexual intercourse with elderly residents. He sexually assaulted a 59-year-old paralytic, entered an adjacent room and sexually assaulted an 87-year-old man. He then beat the man's wife, who was sleeping in the same room. The woman died from her injuries. The accused is being housed in a psychiatric hospital.
March 4. Spiegel Online reported that more than 900 people, including many women, have left Germany to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Roughly one-third have returned to Germany, while another 145 are believed to have been killed in battle. A state prosecutor warned that the returnees are especially dangerous: "They often have had extreme experiences of violence, are strongly radicalized and have few prospects in Germany."
March 7. The German-language version of the ISIS magazine Rumiyah called on lone wolf jihadists to kill "apostate" imams in Germany and Austria. An article entitled, "Kill the Infidel Imams in Germany and Austria," specifically mentioned the following "apostate" imams: Aiman Mazyek, Secretary-General of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany; Abdul Adhim Kamouss, an imam in Berlin of Moroccan origin; Hesham Shashaa, an imam at the Darul Quran mosque in Munich; and Omar Al-Rawi, a Vienna city councilman.
March 9. A 37-year-old migrant from Kosovo, identified only as Fatmir H., was arrested after he injured nine people, including two police officers, with an axe at the central train station in Düsseldorf. Police said Fatmir H. suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and was in an "exceptional mental state" at the time of the attack.
March 10. An unidentified man brandishing a machete attacked an 80-year-old man in the Kalkum district of Düsseldorf. The perpetrator remains at large. In Hamburg, six people were injured when two youths with tear gas attacked a train carrying 50 people. The perpetrators remain at large.
March 10. Germany spent more than €23 billion ($25 billion) on the reception, accommodation and care of migrants and refugees in 2016, according to Bundestag Vice President Johannes Singhammer. The average annual cost per migrant was approximately €11,800 ($13,000). In Berlin alone, the actual amount of money spent on migrants was twice as much as initially budgeted: €1.27 billion rather than €685 million.
March 10. The Bundesrat, the upper chamber of the German parliament, rejected a law that would have fast-tracked deportations to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia by classifying those states as "safe countries of origin." The German Constitution defines safe countries as countries "in which, on the basis of their laws, enforcement practices and general political conditions, it can be safely concluded that neither political persecution nor inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment exists." The decision, led by federal states with left-leaning governing coalitions, means that criminal migrants from the Maghreb will indefinitely remain in Germany.
March 11. Police in Essen foiled a jihadist attack on a shopping center at the Limbecker Platz. Essen Police Chief Frank Richter said he had received "very concrete indications" on the plot to attack the facility, which has more than 200 stores and an average of 60,000 visitors on any given Saturday. Police arrested two Salafists from Oberhausen, including one who had fought for the Islamic State in Syria.
March 12. The number of crimes committed by asylum seekers and refugees in Baden-Württemberg increased significantly in 2016. Statistics showed a total of 251,000 criminal suspects, of whom 107,417 were non-Germans, mostly from Turkey, Romania and Italy. Of the non-German criminals, 25,379 were asylum seekers and refugees (up from 18,695 in 2015). They committed 64,329 crimes in 2016, an increase of nearly 20% over 2015. Syrians were the most frequent offenders 4,053 (2015: 1,253), followed by Gambians 2,346 (2015: 1,592) and Afghans 1,934 (2015: 638). The number of suspects from Kosovo fell from 1,531 to 1,094 and Serbs from 1,488 to 1,224. Criminals from those two countries were increasingly being deported in 2016. Police noted a 95.5% increase in the number of physical assaults involving at least one migrant, to 7,670 cases in 2016.
March 13. The number of crimes committed by asylum seekers and refugees in Bavaria increased significantly in 2016. Statistics showed a total of 274,633 criminal suspects of whom 180,023 were Germans (+0.3%) and 94,610 were non-Germans (+14.9%). Of the non-German criminals, 26,332 were asylum seekers and refugees, an increase of 57.8% compared to the previous year. The proportion of migrant suspects to all suspects was 9.6%, an increase of 3.2% (in 2012 the share was 1.8%). Among the migrant suspects, Syrians were the most frequent offenders at 16.1% (2015: 11.1%), followed by Afghans with 14.3% (2015: 10.1%), Iraqis with 8.8% (2015: 4.6%) and Nigerians with 6.8% (2015: 5.4%). "The increase in crime in Bavaria in 2016 is mainly due to foreign suspects, especially immigrants," said Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann.
March 14. A migrant from Kosovo who has lived in Germany for 28 years and is an active member of the hardline Islamic Salafist movement demanded that the Meierfeld secondary school in Herford provide his ninth-grade son with a prayer room "so that he can perform the Friday prayer on time and without disturbance." The man also prohibited his son from attending music lessons, which he said are banned by Islam. Previously, the man demanded that the Friedenstal secondary school, also in Herford, provide a prayer room for another of his sons.
March 14. More than 400 police and counter-terrorism officers raided a mosque in Hildesheim. The Interior Minister of Lower Saxony, Boris Pistorius, said the Deutschsprachigen Islamkreis Hildesheim (DIK) was a "hotspot of the radical Salafist scene" and ordered it closed because it was "indoctrinating Muslims to go to Iraq and Syria."
March 14. A 17-year-old Somali migrant raped a 43-year-old woman at a train station in Bamberg. A "southerner" (südländischer Typ) raped a 14-year-old girl at a playground in Döbeln.
March 15. A 40-year-old German man of Turkish descent stabbed to death his 34-year-old wife in front of a child daycare center in Kiel. Neighbors said the couple, who were separated, had quarreled about moving their children to Turkey.
March 16. Prosecutors in Gelsenkirchen charged a 23-year-old German man of Turkish origin, identified only as Anil O., with membership in a terrorist organization for joining the Islamic State in Syria. He traveled to Syria in August 2015 to work as a medic but, according to prosecutors, he became disillusioned with the Islamic State. Upon his return to Germany, he was arrested.
March 17. A ten-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan sexually assaulted a 75-year-old woman in Tyrol (Austria). Police said they believe he has committed at least five other offenses of the same kind.
March 17. German immigration authorities are testing software that will be able to recognize the dialect of migrants to determine whether they are legitimate asylum seekers. Some 60% of migrants who have arrived in Germany since 2015 do not have identification documents. "The idea is to record speech samples from asylum seekers and carry out an automatic dialect analysis," said Julian Detzel of the Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).
March 18. Five Arab migrants were accused of gang raping a seven-year-old girl at a refugee reception shelter in the Bahrenfeld district of Hamburg.
March 19. Two Syrian asylum seekers, aged 17 and 23, stabbed two female passersby in broad daylight in the pedestrian zone of Dessau-Roßlau.
March 21. Two North African asylum seekers were charged with attempted manslaughter after they pushed a 40-year-old man onto the tracks of an oncoming train at the station in Dresden-Zschachwitz. The conductor brought the train to a halt a few meters from the man, who was prevented from getting back onto the platform by the perpetrators, a 23-year-old Moroccan and a 27-year-old Libyan. Chief Prosecutor Lorenz Haase initially dropped charges against the men, concluding that there was "no evidence" of murderous intent. Haase reversed his decision on day later after a nationwide outpouring of anger.
March 21. Three Muslim teenagers were handed sentences of between six and seven years in prison for the April 16, 2016 bombing of a Sikh temple in Essen. The judge ruled that the motive for the attack, in which three people were injured, was hatred of other religions. The three were members of the hardline Islamic Salafist movement.
March 22. The German Press Council (Presserat) loosened its guidelines (Pressekodex) for reporting crimes. Journalists are now allowed to provide information about the ethnic or religious background of suspects or perpetrators of crimes if there is a "justified public interest" to do so. Previously, journalists were only allowed to provide such details if it was absolutely necessary (begründeter Sachbezug) to understand the reported event. The change followed complaints from German media outlets that the old guidelines were difficult to interpret.
March 23. The Mannheim Labor Court rejected a lawsuit filed by a 40-year-old Muslim nurse who claimed that she was unfairly terminated after only one week by a nursing home because she refused to wash male patients. The woman, who has been living in Germany for three years, told the court that she wants to integrate into German society but does not understand why her former employer could not accept that her religion forbids her to wash men. The court ruled that the employer was entitled to dismiss employees during the six-month period of probation.
March 23. The Interior Minister of Hesse ordered a "permanent ban" the Al-Madina Mosque in Kassel for promoting Salafi-jihadism and for "exchanging and inviting hatred and violence against other religious groups, states and peoples, as well as generally differently thinking people."
March 23. The number of prisoners in the state of Baden-Württemberg has increased by 615 to 7,400 since 2015, and all 17 of the state's prisons are overcrowded. The reason for the increase in the number of inmates is the influx of migrants: The proportion of foreigners among the prison population increased from 39% to 46% in the last two years alone, according to the Stuttgarter Nachrichten.
March 24. The Berlin Police Department announced the creation of a special task force to investigate acid attacks. At least six women in the city have been attacked with acid since the beginning of 2017. The latest attack occurred on March 14, when a 41-year-old pedestrian was attacked by an unknown cyclist in Prenzlauer Berg district of the capital.
March 24. A 31-year-old Afghan migrant brandishing a hammer attacked a 59-year-old man riding a bicycle in the Bergedorf district of Hamburg. Police said the attacker, who was found soaked in his victim's blood, was "psychologically ill."
March 24. A 30-year-old man shouting "Allahu Akhbar" and "you are all going to die" forced the temporary closure of the central bus station in Bamberg. Police said the man showed "clear signs of mental illness." They added that an arrest warrant was not issued due to his illness.
March 24. A 36-year-old Tunisian jihadist evaded deportation by requesting asylum in Germany. Haykel S., who was arrested during a counter-terrorism raid in Frankfurt on February 1, was already on the commercial airplane that was to fly him to Tunis when the Frankfurt administrative court ordered that he be allowed to remain in Germany. Haykel S. first arrived in Germany in 2003 on a student visa. Due to his subsequent marriage to a German, he was granted residency. He later returned to Tunisia and then returned to Germany in August 2015. Since then, he has repeatedly been arrested for criminal activity.
March 25. A North Rhine-Westphalia police report leaked to Bild am Sonntag revealed that police knew as early as March 2016 that Anis Amri, the 31-year-old Tunisian who carried out the December 19 jihadist attack on the Christmas market in Berlin, was planning an attack, but he was not deported because he did not have a passport. The report stated: "Amri presents a threat in the form of a suicide attack. The commission of a terrorist attack by Amri is expected."
March 27. The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that Turkey's National Intelligence Agency had provided Germany's BND intelligence service with a list of names of hundreds of alleged followers of the Islamic Gülen movement in Germany. The movement is led by Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, who has lived in the United States since 1999. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed Gülen for the failed military coup in July 2016. The list, which includes addresses, telephone numbers and photographs of those concerned, proved that the Turkish government has been secretly spying on persons, associations, schools and other institutions linked to Gülen in Germany.
March 28. Humboldt University of Berlin announced it will open an Islamic theology institute. The objective of the program is "to impart academic foundations in Islamic theology for training imams and to qualify students for a school teaching post." Humboldt University will become the sixth university in Germany to teach Islamic theology. Berlin Mayor Michael Müller revealed that the institute is being paid for by German taxpayers: €13.5 million ($14.5 million) of government funding will secure the institute's finances through 2022. Humboldt University President Sabine Kunst rejected calls for a joint "Faculty for Theology" for Christians, Muslims and Jews: "The first step is to set up the Institute for Islamic Theology at the HU. We want this to be a success. It is important that this key project is not overloaded by a much broader idea."
Humboldt University of Berlin has announced that it will open an Islamic theology institute. It will be the sixth university in Germany to teach Islamic theology. (Image source: Friedrich Petersdorff/Wikimedia Commons)