In January this year, Germany’s vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel gave an uncharacteristically candid interview for a European politician. ‘Salafist mosques must be banned, communities dissolved, and the preachers should be expelled as soon as possible’, he told Der Spiegel. ‘If we are serious about the fight against Islamism and terrorism, then it must also be a cultural fight.’
Gabriel made his declaration two weeks after a lorry had been driven through a Christmas market in Berlin, killing twelve people. The perpetrator, Anis Amri, was revealed to have links to a radical Salafist preacher in the town of Hildesheim. Since Gabriel’s interview there have been three more major Islamist attacks in western Europe – Manchester, Borough Market and Barcelona – and Salafism has been an influence in each one. So much for taking the fight seriously.