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Video: „How to counter extremist propaganda“

On 29th November, EFD Executive Director and Chairman of RAN Communications and Narratives (C&N) Working Group, Alexander Ritzmann, was among a group of policy experts speaking at the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee’s Pubic Hearing on preventing and countering radicalisation and violent extremism.

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Vom Selbst- zum Massenmord/From suicide to mass-murder

Terroristische Propaganda und die Verantwortung der Medien

Alexander Ritzmann

tv diskurs: 20. Jg., 4/2016 (Ausgabe 78), S. 48-51

Die strategischen Ziele und taktischen Maßnahmen terroristischer Organisationen werden von den Medien häufig falsch vermittelt. Journalisten fungieren außerdem als unfreiwillige Helfershelfer der Propagandaabteilungen von al-Qaida oder des Islamischen Staates. Kinder, Jugendliche und psychisch labile Erwachsene, die besonders anfällig für extreme Einflüsse sind, können durch diese Art der Berichterstattung zur Nachahmung von Attentaten und Amokläufen inspiriert werden.

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In this article, EFD´s Executive Director Alexander Ritzmann highlights that media outlets often involuntarily serve as extended propaganda channels of terrorist organizations. In the current issue of “tv diskurs”, the magazine of the organization for the self-regulation of television in Germany (FSF), Alexander argues that many media outlets don´t put terrorist propaganda and attacks in context and therefore spread fear and confusion. Research on the effects of unreflected media reporting on suicides and mass shootings indicates that especially minors and adults with specific mental illnesses can be inspired to imitate extreme behavior if the individuals are in a personal crisis at the time of the reporting. In extreme cases, this can motivate individuals who are considering suicide to committing mass murder because of the attention and “fame” affiliated with these crimes. Alexander calls for journalists and media companies to explain terrorist tactics and strategies better to their audiences to foster the resilience of individuals and societies.

Defining the phenomenon of jihadist radicalisation

Inforadio – Was alle Extremisten vereint

RBB-Inforadio.

Fr 05.08.2016 | 09:05 | Interviews

Was alle Extremisten vereint

„Extremistische Gewalt in Deutschland hat in den vergangenen Jahren deutlich zugenommen und zwar auf allen Seiten. Heiner Martin sprach mit dem Extremismus-Experten Alexander Ritzmann darüber, was alle Extremisten – trotz aller inhaltlichen Unterschiede – vereint: eine „Anti-Haltung“ gegenüber dem bestehenden System. Gleichzeitig möchte jede Ideologie am Ende ihre eigene Utopie, ihre „perfekte Welt“ – ob das jetzt das kommunistische Paradies ist, das „völkische“ Paradies oder das Kalifat. „

Europe can survive ISIS without electing nutjobs (EurActiv)

27.07.2016

By James Crisp | EurActiv.com

Terrorism is not new to Europe, despite the recent Islamic State inspired attacks that have rocked France and Germany, Alexander Ritzmann has said. The terror and radicalisation expert said it was vital that the outrages did not lead to policy decisions confusing migration with terrorism ahead of crunch elections in Germany and France next year.

Alexander Ritzmann is Senior Advisor to the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels. He chairs the Communication and Narratives Working Group at the European Commission’s Radicalisation Awareness Network and teaches on terrorism at Potsdam University. Ritzmann was a member of the Berlin State Parliament, overseeing the state police and intelligence agency. He spoke to EurActiv.com News Editor James Crisp yesterday (26 July) after the terrorist attacks in Nice, Würzburg, and Ansbach but before the attack in Rouen (26 July).

Could the recent attacks in Germany have an impact on the country’s asylum policy?

There is a perception that the attacks are linked to the welcoming of refugees to Germany.  But it is the job of policymakers and the media to help the population understand the difference.  If there are 500,000 Syrian refugees and one of them stabs someone that is not something that policy should be dealing with. It is a crime and it should be investigated by the police. And, by the way, the average Syrian refugee commits fewer crimes than the average German citizen.

There is of course the potential for radicalisation and for sectarian violence. The refugees bring the conflict with them. Right now everyone is focused on settling and surviving but I am absolutely sure the conflict in Syria will come back to people. Already, they do not trust other Syrian refugees, they will ask where they come from, for example. When you talk to them, they could have family and friends who have been tortured or murdered by someone in the next room belonging to the same group. We work with Syrians on overcoming these sectarian divisions.

There’s also potential for radicalisation in the future if the government doesn’t work with the right institutions. There are some very conservative organisations in Germany with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, people who would rather build parallel societies than integrate. But the government wants to work with organisations, even if those are mentioned in domestic intelligence reports as having Muslim Brotherhood ties, being part of political Islam. And these organisations can become partly government funded, which can lead to uncomfortable headlines in the future. Weiterlesen …

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Interviews regarding the attacks in Germany on BBC news and Sky News, 25/7/2016

BBC Ritzmann

Germany harbors 300 Hamas, 950 Hezbollah members and activists

Some 300 Hamas members and supporters – as well as 950 Hezbollah activists and members – are operating in Germany, the country’s domestic intelligence agency said in its annual federal report, the same numbers as were listed in its 2013 and 2014 reports.

The Jerusalem Post’s examination of the 317-page intelligence report, which was released on Tuesday, revealed the Islamic terrorists were on the radar screen of the country’s intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

“The followers of Islamist- terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah striving for the abolition of the Jewish State of Israel are focused on their regions of origin, which is where they commit most of their terrorist acts of violence,” the report stated.

Europe has long been a platform for Hezbollah members to launch terrorist attacks against Israelis and European Jews. Hezbollah operatives blew up an Israeli tour bus in the Black Sea resort of Burgas, Bulgaria, on July 18, 2012, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver.

The EU included Hezbollah’s so-called military wing on its terrorism list in 2013, but Hezbollah’s political operation remains a legal organization in Europe. The US, Canada, the Arab League, and the Netherlands proscribed all of Hezbollah’s organization to be a terrorist militia.

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The number of pro-Israel protesters ranged from 260 to 500. Hadas-Handelsman said it is a “disgrace” that for the last 20 years in Germany, agitating publicly against Jews and Israel is allowed.

The intelligence report noted that a German court in 2015 rejected the claim by the Lebanon Orphan Children Project that it is not involved in terrorist activities.

The alleged charity was outlawed in 2014, and has renamed itself “Colors for Orphans.”

The Lebanon Orphan Children’s Project was founded in 1997, and transferred donations to the al-Shahid (“The Martyr”) Association in Lebanon. Al-Shahid was “disguised as a humanitarian organization” and “promotes violence and terrorism in the Middle East using donations collected in Germany and elsewhere,” according to a 2009 European Foundation for Democracy report by Middle East expert Alexander Ritzmann.

The donations to Lebanon Orphan Children’s Project aided the families of suicide bombers who murdered Israelis.

The report also estimated the number of Islamic extremists could be as high as 10,000 in the Federal Republic. Radical Islamists likely have infiltrated the flow of refugees entering Germany, the report noted.