ISIS is using “headhunters” on social media and instant messaging sites to recruit disaffected young people in Germany, some as young as 13 or 14, the head of the country’s domestic intelligence agency said on Thursday.
Hans-Georg Maassen also drew parallels between the militant Islamist group and past radical movements such as communism and Adolf Hitler’s Nationalist Socialists which also tried to lure young people keen to rebel against their parents and society.
“On social media networks there are practically headhunters who approach young people and get them interested in this (Islamist) ideology,” Maassen told foreign reporters in Berlin.
Maassen cited the case of a teenage German-Moroccan girl identified as Safia S., who is accused of stabbing a policeman at a train station in Hanover last February, and a 12-year-old German-Iraqi boy who tried to detonate two explosive devices in the western town of Ludwigshafen in December.
About 20 percent of an estimated 900 people from Germany who have been recruited by ISIS to join the fight in Iraq and Syria are women, some as young as 13 or 14, he said.
German authorities are monitoring 548 Islamists deemed to be a security risk, but German law does not allow for their arrest until they have committed a crime, Maassen said.