Despite confiscating passports, Germany has found Jihadists have still been able to leave the country to fight and get training abroad by using their Federal identity cards, so the state has proposed to replace them, with specially designed ‘Jihadi’ cards.
Having an identity document has been compulsory for many Germans since 1938 when the authoritarian Nazi Party introduced papers for adult men and Jews. The identity card programme has since expanded and covers all adult Germans, providing them with a convenient document for quick identification and travel within the European Union open borders area.
Because the cards are valid travel documents, Germany has seen a number of suspected terrorists who have already had their passports revoked easily slip away to Turkey, with whom Germany has a borders agreement. From there, crossing into the Islamic State is relatively easy and can be arranged by any one of a number of smugglers for a small fee.
Jihadists are not the only minority group in German society who could be targeted by the introduction of segregated identity cards. Germany’s sizeable population of Kurds, some of whom have travelled back to their homeland to fight against the Islamic State would also be given new cards if they were judged likely to go abroad.
Although the German government supports the Kurds in Iraq with significant deliveries of military weapons and equipment, the Kurdish organisations that actually receive and use the materiel are banned in Germany.
Rather than confiscating the cards completely, which would leave the suspected Jihadists in breach of the identity card law, they will instead be issued with distinctively marked cards. Printed with warnings about the nature of the holder in multiple languages to prevent unauthorised border crossings, the cards will be issued once they have parliamentary appeal, reports TheLocal.de.
Going to such efforts to prevent Jihadists from leaving the country may not please everyone. Many have criticised Western nations for the apparently prevalent policy of stopping suspected terrorists of travelling to war-zones, while not keeping them under sufficient surveillance at home.