Germany to launch hotline for recovering jihadists

Via Der Spiegel:

Germany has been offering programs for people who want to leave the neo-Nazi scene for years. Now, in a bid to combat the threat of Islamist terrorism, authorities are setting up a telephone hotline for those keen to give up jihad.

Could it be that Islamists just need a helping hand to turn their back on extremism? That, at least, is what Germany is hoping — and has set up a new program to facilitate the process.

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, will launch the so-called exit program at the end of June, agency chief Heinz Fromm announced Monday, speaking at the presentation of the service’s annual report for 2009 in Berlin. The agency is to set up a telephone hotline that militant Islamists can call if they want to leave radical Islamist groups. Multilingual specialists will be available to give potential quitters advice in Turkish or Arabic, as well as German, Fromm said, without giving further details of the program.Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière described the scheme as a “valuable preventative effort.” Fromm however warned against overly high expectations for the scheme. “We’ll have to wait and see if it gets a big response,” he said. The agency’s programs for neo-Nazis wanting to quit their milieu, which have been running for several years, have only met with moderate success.

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