The German court in Celle, a city in the north, convicted and jailed 16-year-old Safia on January 26 for attacking a police officer in February of 2016. This attack was in the name of the Islamic State and marked the first attack on German soil related to ISIS.
Safia, a German and Moroccan dual citizen, received a six-year prison sentence for attempted murder by helping the terrorist organization. She attacked the neck of the police officer in the Hanover train station with a steak knife and a vegetable knife, leaving grievous bodily harm. The other policeman who was at the scene remarked, “The attacker was cold. Her only worry was that her headscarf was rumpled and she wanted to pull it straight. It was nothing to her if the police officer lived or died.” Safia is a member of a network of young followers of ISIS in Hanover.
Safia’s family had noticed signs of radicalization before the attack. After she referred to the November 2015 Paris attacks as the “happiest days of [her]life,” her grandmother called the police and the authorities came to talk with the family in January of 2016. However, a few days later she left for Turkey to join ISIS. After becoming frustrated at her inability to join their ranks, she returned home. The extremists Safia met in Turkey ordered her to carry out a “martyrdom attack,” leading her to target the police.
Upon receiving her sentence, Safia’s lawyer declared that they would appeal the case to a higher court. He also stated, “Real failure lay with the police.” Safia’s father claims that the trial was a show trial trying to set an example because his daughter is Muslim. While authorities caught and convicted Safia of conspiring with a terrorist group, it remains to be seen how Germany will tackle its growing problem of the Islamic State’s influence on its youth.