War in Syria and Iraq Attracts A Growing Number of Muslim Extremists from Europe

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(Newswire.net — September 20, 2014)  — Denis Cuspert was once a modestly successful member of Germany’s hip-hop scene going by the stage name Deso Dogg. Now he calls himself Abu Talha.  The German and is a top propagandist for the so-called Islamic State (IS) caliphate.

Born to a German mother and Ghanaian father, Cuspert grew up in a gritty Berlin neighborhood and got involved in petty crime and gangs while aspiring to become a rap star.

After two policemen were stabbed during a Salafist protest in the city of Bonn in May 2012, Cuspert used his rap skills to glorify the attacker as “the German lion Murat K.”  And despite renouncing his musical background, he regularly composes Islamic chants known as “anasheeds” in praise of jihad.

But he never managed to make it big rapping, and after a car accident he started to look to radical Islam for direction in life. Over the past four years, he abandoned his music career to become an Islamist poster boy in the German-speaking world, posting videos that encourage Muslims to join the caliphate’s holy war.

“I was a sinner. I lived in sin before I turned to Islam. Surrounded by music, drugs, alcohol and women,” he said in one recent propaganda video.

However, his ascent into the upper IS ranks is raising concerns that such homegrown Islamists could embolden Muslim extremists in Germany or that they might one day return themselves to target the country for terrorism.

As the rise of the repressive IS regime in Syria and Iraq emboldens extremists in Germany, it is also raising tensions with the country’s mainstream Muslim community.

Following six suspected arson attacks on mosques last month, moderate Muslim leaders unite against violence in the Middle East and intolerance in Germany.

“We are all afraid of violence, hatred and fanaticism. We have to confront this together,” Aiman Mazyek, the chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, recently told the Berlin-based newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.

The Islamists clearly see the former rapper’s potential in recruiting others in Germany, which has a thriving Salafist scene promulgating an especially dogmatic form of Sunni Islam.