European Welfare Systems’ Inadvertent Support for Terrorists
Counter Extremism Project
by Luisa Roemer
In 2017, European security services uncovered that Islamist domestic terrorists and foreign fighters received social welfare payments totaling more than two million euros between 2012 and 2016. Among the primary reasons for the lack of governmental oversight were insufficient coordination between government authorities combined with unclear division of responsibilities, legislative loopholes, and missing control mechanisms.ISIS generates most of its wealth in Syria from oil sales, taxation, extortion, and confiscation of property and cash. However, a smaller portion of the terror group’s revenue originates from Europe, collected through donations from ISIS-sympathizers, charity scams, and—notably—social welfare payments.For example, Anis Amri, the perpetrator of the December 2016 Christmas market attack in Berlin, used multiple identities to apply for asylum and to over-claim for social welfare benefits in Germany. It is likely that Amri received a monthly stipend of €135, housing...