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An alleged German Salafist militant, recently arrested for plotting a terrorist strike, reportedly has a neo-Nazi past, something experts say is more common than some may imagine.
Investigators found social media accounts for 26-year-old 'Sascha L.' featuring anti-Muslim content and posts condemning anti-fascists in the west European country. According to German magazine Der Spiegel, a 2013 video shows the suspected extremist warning of a "creeping death of the people," due to the impending institution of sharia law by Muslims.
The extremist added, "Even a dog knows where it belongs. And where do you belong? Don't be stupider than a dog and save the German population from this planned extinction!" according to Deutsche Welle. Throughout the videos Sascha L. wore a distinct white mask, and his references to the "death of the people" indicate affiliation with Die Unsterblichen (for: The Immortals), a neo-Nazi group known for organizing rallies and flash mobs via text messaging.
During demonstrations the group would cryptically encourage people to “make your short life immortal, so that those to come don’t forget that you were German,” according to New York Daily News.
In another video from May 2013 the professed militant posted a video encouraging violence against immigrants that he titled, "Tips for fighting cockroaches.”
By 2014 Sascha L. was in court facing charges for spreading pro-Daesh propaganda online. On February 21 he was arrested for storing “items and chemicals" used for making explosives and was under suspicion of arranging a terrorist attack. A statement from state prosecutors noted that the extremist belonged to the ultra-conservative movement of Salafi Islam.
According to the report, "During his first questioning, he admitted to planning to lure police officers or soldiers into a trap and then kill them with a homemade explosive."
Despite the stark differences between Islamophobic neo-Nazism and fundamental Islamism, experts in deradicalization say that people jumping between extremist movements is not uncommon.
A prominent example is Horst Mahler, who joined Germany’s far-right NPD Party after helping establish the Red Army Faction, a militant left-wing organization that carried out assassinations and bombings. The RAF moved under the slogan,"Let the armed resistance begin."
Bernard Falk was at one time a member of a leftist group called the Anti-Imperialist Cell, but converted to Islam while imprisoned. In 2012, he pledged loyalty to Al-Qaeda and called for the Ramstein US air base in Germany to be attacked.
"Whenever extremism is concerned, it's always about marginalizing other people, seeking out a homogenous community opposed to democracy," said Thomas Mücke of the Violence Prevention Network, adding, "The ideologies of far-right extremism and religious extremism are very similar."
Mücke explained that, "If there is no basic acceptance of human rights, they either stay in their scene or switch to another problematic scene."
2017.03.01 / 10:48