Germany is a peculiar case in the project From Criminals to Terrorists, and back? In the peak year 2015, it declared only 21 jihadi terrorist arrestees to Europol. Less than 15% had any connection to previous criminality. But nine of them were or attempted to have been foreign terrorist fighters. Their target countries were not just Syria and Iraq but also Somalia and Kenya.
What we also see is redemption amongst these individuals. They were involved for example in the drug scene in a given city and then opted for jihadism as a way to redeem themselves for their past sins. As far as radicalisation is concerned there are instances of individuals being radicalised in prison or in radical mosques such as one in Bonn.
There is a vibrant jihadist scene but the country avoided major attacks until 2016. At the same time it produces foreign terrorist fighters, there is some crime-terror nexus overlap and we also see individuals journeying to Germany, like some from Bulgaria, to become part of a wider Salafi community and learn know-how that is transferrable to their country.
We stay tuned to see what data and stories will come out of the country in the near future.