Germany Sets up Suicide Bomber Hotline
Goal is to help Muslims who want to abandon extremism.
On Monday, the German government debuted a suicide bomber hotline called HATIF, meaning “telephone” in Arabic. The goal of the hotline is to provide help to Muslims who want to abandon extremism. “The primary goal of HATIF is to prevent violence in the name of Islam,” stated the German Federal Constitution Protection Office.
A spokeswoman for the German domestic intelligence agency claimed that confidentiality will be a guarantee for users. The official, speaking to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, would not say how much money had been allocated to the program or how many employees were working for it. “Our program is an offer for those who want to leave extremism behind. Once we find out what their needs are, we will develop the program accordingly,” she said. The program will also reportedly help family members and friends of people who have come under influence of extremists.
“We know that in almost all of these groups, there are people who want to leave, but it is not easy to get out of such an environment,” said Peter Neumann, an expert from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence in London. “Therefore it is great that Germany makes this offer even though this definitely won't lead to the end of radical Islam in Germany.” Neumann also mentioned that no such program exists anywhere else in Europe.
There are an estimated 36,000 Islamist extremists currently in Germany, with a fraction considered to be potentially violent. The Muslim population in Germany is between 3.8 million and 4.3 million making up 4.6 and 5.2 per cent of the country’s population. Members of the intelligence service can be contacted online or by phone. The service is offered in Arabic, Turkish, and German.