Posted by Zubair Khan
It’s still dark in Alexandria, and I can hear the Salafist breathing in the dark. He is tiptoeing across the room.The man approaching my bed picked me up from the airport yesterday. His name is Dennis Rathkamp, and he is a 24-year-old auto mechanic who used to play guitar in his church confirmation class. He moved to Egypt a few weeks ago to learn how to become a good Muslim
On this morning, my body is lying between Rathkamp and Mecca. He drops to his knees and lowers his forehead to the floor. It’s 6:30 a.m., time for early prayers. I hear Rathkamp moving his lips silently. He promised me he would try to be quiet while praying.
I am lying in this bed in a stranger’s apartment because I am searching for an answer to the question of what drives the Salafists, a group of people who are feared in Germany. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, estimates that 60 German Salafists emigrated to Egypt last year. Many chose the city of Alexandria as their new home, and they now live in the Mandara neighborhood in the north of the city.