Saturday, September 21, 2002

At least we aren't alone.

Behind in most polls, the Bavarian governor - a hard-liner on law and order - appeared to be making a last-gasp effort to tap into fears over a link between immigration and terrorism in Europe. He told a rowdy crowd, packed into the market square of Werne, on the edge of the Ruhr district, that there were 30,000 identified Muslim fundamentalist extremists in Germany.

Mr Stoiber added: "Among these 30,000 so-called Islamists, there are 4,000 who are ready for violence. The police know that; 4,000 are known by name as being disposed to violence and are suspected of belonging to foreign terrorist organisations such as the Algerian GIA. I say to you: these 4,000 - I will expel them from the country."

Mr Stoiber made no reference in his speech to any kind of judicial process, and it was not clear how he intended to carry out the deportations under existing laws. Legislation that came into effect last December abolished a ban on the investigation of foreigners based in Germany and considered to be terrorist suspects by other states. But the law as it stands does not allow the authorities to deport anyone on mere suspicion of belonging to a terrorist organisation.

He's got a little list, you see...