Statistics are showing a clear tendency: there are currently some 5,500 Salafists in Germany, and their numbers are growing. In the western state North Rhine-Westphalia, their numbers have doubled in the course of a year to a 1,500, according to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The agency doesn't consider Salafism a militant ideology per se, but said it was a breeding ground for radicalization.
Salafists believe in the traditional version of Islam. Some Salafists want to change society to fit that traditional view, and the German internal agency has identified a minority of Salafists who seem ready to use violence to achieve their goals. It said young people in particular felt attracted to Salafism after hearing speeches by preachers or after attending rallies or other meetings. Recruitment also happens online with Salafists supporters on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.