Government analysts, academics dismiss idea that jihadis could be entering Europe as refugees
“Gerhard Schindler told the Bild tabloid that there is ‘no concrete evidence’ of terrorists coming to Germany posing as refugees from the Middle East or Africa.”
Yet last February, the Islamic State promised to flood Europe with 500,000 refugees. And an Islamic State operative boasted that among the flood of refugees, 4,000 Islamic State jihadis had entered Europe. “They are going like refugees,” he said. “Just wait…It’s our dream that there should be a caliphate not only in Syria but in all the world, and we will have it soon, inshallah.”
“Posing as refugees to enter Europe is not seen as a militant strategy,” by Christina Boyle, Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2015:
Fear that Islamist militants are lurking amid the massive influx of refugees flooding Europe have been debated in forums such as Facebook, think tanks and government circles.
But the risk of a rush of so-called refugee warriors appears overstated, in part because it is already easy for groups such as Islamic State to infiltrate Europe through safer, more conventional means, analysts say.
“I don’t see the need for ISIS to embark on such a convoluted scheme to carry out attacks or be a threat in the West,” said Reinoud Leenders, associate professor in international relations and Middle East studies at King’s College London’s Department of War Studies, referring to the militant group by an acronym.
Islamic State has “a huge reservoir of sympathizers who all have Western or European passports and who were born or raised there.”
Concern about security has been among the most potent arguments set forth by groups, from Britain to Hungary, that are seeking to limit the number of war-weary Middle Eastern refugees allowed to resettle.
Nigel Farage, leader of the anti-immigration UK Independence Party in Britain, contends that the European Union’s “interpretation of compassion actually could be a very real threat to our security.”
In an interview on London’s LBC radio, Farage said he sympathized with the viewpoint expressed in some Eastern European countries, notably by Hungary’s prime minister, that their strong Roman Catholic identity would be threatened by an influx of Muslims.
“My concern is that ISIS have actually said that they will use the migrant wave to flood Europe with half a million of their jihadist fighters…. Even if it’s only 500 I’m very worried about that.”
And on Facebook last week, a photo supposedly showing a “before and after” shot of a reputed militant posing as a refugee quickly was shared more than 80,000 times. As it turned out, however, the man, Laith Saleh, had been a commander in the Free Syrian Army fighting Islamist militants as well as forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
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