Rising Islamophobia across European countries has been casting deep shadows on the life of the Muslim minorities.
The chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, said the planned attacks were “very alarming” and called for more security at the country’s mosques.
“Without state protection, the situation is getting ever more dangerous. What are the security authorities waiting for?” he told the Berlin daily Taz.
Mohammad Dawood Majoka, a spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, called for an “increased attentiveness by the police”.
Meanwhile, Zekeriya Altuğ, a spokesman for Ditib, the umbrella organization for a large number of mosques in Germany, said the arrests highlighted “the seriousness of the situation … the point of no return is getting ever closer,” he said.
The twelve men arrested were plotting Christchurch-style attack in several mosques by semi-automatic weapons, government officials said.
Prosecutors said four of the suspects had set up a “terrorist organization” in September 2019 and regularly met and contacted each other by phone and in online chat forums and chat groups.
Police detained the other eight on suspicion of supporting the organization with money and weapons.
“The goal of the organization was to shake and eventually destroy the democratic system and social cohesion of the federal republic,” the Federal Prosecutor’s Office (GBA) said.
“For the purpose of creating conditions that resemble a civil war, attacks that were not yet concrete against politicians, asylum seekers and members of the Muslim faith were planned.”
The German government last year launched a crackdown on right-wing political violence in response to a rise in hate crimes.
New measures were approved after the killing of a pro-immigration politician and a deadly attack on a synagogue and kebab shop in Halle by an anti-Semitic gunman include tougher rules on gun ownership and stricter monitoring of hate speech online.
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency estimates there are around 24,100 “right-wing extremists” in Germany, about half of whom are potentially violent.