by Florian Flade
A few months ago an secret internal paper circulating in German military bases warned about former soldier Sascha B. who was suspected of being an Islamist.
B., a 28 year-old convert to Islam, joined the German army (Bundeswehr) in 2006 and served as a Lance Sergeant in Panzergrenadierbataillon 212 in Augustdorf. During his service time Sascha B. converted to Islam. He grew a beard and started praying. At that point he realized his new behaviour might be considered problematic by his superiors.
“I was not allowed to pray when I wanted to”, B. says. In summer 2009 the Muslim soldier was fined with a disciplinary punishment of 250 EUROs because he refused to trimm his beard to 2cm length – instead he spotted a 14cm Salafi beard.
A few weeks later Sascha B. refused to teach a young recruit how to shoot an assault rifle, claiming the soldier might be send to Afghanistan to shoot at Muslims. His supervisors reacted immediately and informed the German military´s internal intelligence agency MAD.
MAD agents spoke to Sascha B. about his behaviour and his belief. “The liberal democratic system to me is only the second best form of government”, B. said during the interrogations. For him, Shariah law, was the best system created for mankind. Sascha B. also confirmed that he ordered 1800 leaflets about Islam on the website of famous German Salafi preacher Pierre Vogel.
On March 15 2010, two weeks prior to his regular end of service in the military, the German Bundeswehr sacked Sascha B.. He was most likely considered a possible terrorist threat.
Eventhough he left the German military, the MAD seemed to be worried about the fact that Sascha B. was still in possession of his military ID card which might have enabled him to access German military instellations – therefore the MAD gave out the document warning about B.. It took months for the Bundeswehr to reacquire the ID card from Sascha B..
Yesterday Sascha B. lost a law-suite against the Bundeswehr he had filed because of his early release from service. The court decided that the release was justified due to Sascha B.´s behaviour and ideological background.
In court the Salafi convert, a father of two, said he was never a threat of any kind and was willing to work and fight for the democratic system he lives in.