Berlin, Germany


As the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, Berlin is facing complex challenges. World famous for its open and diverse society, the city has taken comprehensive measures to both protect its people against the threats of violent extremism and terrorism while helping those vulnerable to radicalisation and strengthening social cohesion. To achieve this, Berlin is following a balanced strategy combining both preventive as well as proactive approaches. To deliver these objectives the city is mobilising the full range of its authorities and services while also partnering up with a large number of civil society organisations. In all its efforts Berlin is following an approach of an active engagement in international cooperation, especially within networks of the European Union. Consequently, Berlin joined the Strong Cities Network in November 2017 out of deep conviction.

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In response to the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States of America, Germany implemented a series of anti-terrorism laws, refining and enlarging the legal framework for counter-terrorism. Additionally, coordination and communication between various intelligence and law enforcement agencies has been improved, for example by setting up the Joint Counter-Terrorism Centre (Gemeinsames Terrorismusabwehrzentrum, GTAZ) in which all relevant security services work together on Islamist extremism. From 2012, to similarly tackle violent extremism, especially related to the far-right, the Joint Extremism and Counter-Terrorism Centre (Gemeinsame Extremismus- und Terrorismusabwehrzentrum, GETZ) was created under the lead of the domestic intelligence service Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz). Since 2014, stringent efforts have been made to curtail and counter ISIS and other jihadist propaganda in Germany, as well as the propagation of white-supremacist hate speech spread by right-wing extremists. The Federal Ministry of Justice has also worked with major social media platforms to both limit the circulation of, and make it easier to report, online propaganda disseminated by extremist groups.

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Berlin pursues a holistic approach to countering violent extremism by combining and balancing preventive and proactive measures. The city has formulated a comprehensive strategy: based on the four pillars of prevention, pursue, protection and preparation, a wide range of measures have been adopted to cope with radicalisation and Islamist terrorism. Additionally, on the issue of right-wing extremism, a Berlin-wide Joint Information and Evaluation Centre (Gemeinsames Informations- und Bewertungszentrum Rechtsextremismus, GIBZ) of Berlin police forces and the Berlin domestic intelligence service Berlin Office for the Protection of the Constitution have been created.

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Key Sources & Further Reading

Key Personnel

Name: Andreas Geisel

Role: Senator for the Interior and Sports

Name: Torsten Akmann

Role: State Secretary for the Interior

Name: Kai-Oliver Manske

Role: Head of the Unit on Strategic Control of the Fight against Islamist Terrorism, Deradicalisation and Prevention of Radicalisation

Name: Felix Bächlin

Role: Advisor of the Unit on Strategic Control of the Fight against Islamist Terrorism, Deradicalisation and Prevention of Radicalisation