Germany has enacted a ban against providing support for the Islamic State terrorist group, which includes displaying its flag in public or online.
The ban aims to prevent recruitment efforts by the group to gather fighters from Germany to join its jihad in Iraq and Syria.
“Germany is a well-fortified democracy, there’s no place here for a terrorist organisation which opposes the constitutional order as well as the notion of international understanding,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in a statement.
According to some estimates, some 400 German nationals have already travelled to the Middle East to provide support for the extremist group.
“The terrorist organisation Islamic State is a threat to public safety in Germany as well,” Maiziere said, echoing fears that German passport holders could return to Germany from Syria or Iraq to carry out terrorist attacks.
The enacting of the ban coincides with an announcement by the US that it will be launching large scale strikes in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State.
The decision to ban support for the Islamic State, instead of banning the group outright in Germany, will make it easier for the authorities to crack down those spreading propaganda for the group or attempting to bolster its ranks.
“A ban of the organisation may not have had the desired impact,” said Wolfgang Bosbach, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government. “This is aimed at smashing an organisational structure, to rob members of grass-roots support for their activities.”