Spies in the German state of Hesse are keeping close watch on shops which sell halal products in fear that they may be hotbeds of islamist, the head of the regional intelligence agency has said.
Robert Schafer told DPA that intelligence services are closely monitoring the ultra-conservative Salafist scene and this includes places that they may meet, like halal shops.
Salafism is an ultra-conservative reform movement within Sunni Islam, which was first developed in the Arabian Peninsula.
Schafer was quoted by The Local as saying: “In such cases, scene meeting points could emerge, which we would consider as possible radicalisation spaces."
Oliver Bertrand, from the Frankfurt Research Center on Global Islam at Goethe University, also said he was not surprised by the news, as teenagers who go to these shops alone are often encouraged to join the Salafist scene.
Thomas Mucke, from the Violence Prevention Network said there is not proo to back up this theory, but the idea does fit in with what is already known about the Salafist scene.
He also added that those who own shops which sell halal products should be aware that their outlet could become a meeting place, and it can also happen in parks, gyms and football groups.
Intelligence services believe there are 4,150 people in Hesse who are Islamists, and 1,650 of these people are classified as Salafists.