MAINZ, Germany - Germany banned images and activities linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham on Friday, including social media support and display of the militant group's signature black flag. Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that ignoring the ban - which also covers participating in demonstrations or supporting the group financially - "is a crime with immediate effect." He called the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham - which has waged a bloody campaign through Iraq and Syria - a threat to Germany. “Today, we are decisively acting against this threat,” he said.
Violators of the ban could face jail time, Germany's Justice Ministry said. ISIS has used glossy propaganda videos and social media to attract recruits. Officials in Germany welcomed Friday's move but urged more measures to halt extremists' activities. An estimated 400 Germans have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with ISIS, sparking fears jihadists could return home and carry out terror attacks. German law also prohibits the use or depiction of swastikas.
Among the symbols that are being banned in Germany, according to the German Interior Ministry (clockwise from top left): Black flag with writing 'La Ilaha illa Allah' and 'ad-Dawla al-Islamiya fil-Iraq wash-Sham'. Black flag with writing at top 'La Ilaha illa Allah, Allah, Rasul, Muhammad' (in circle) and 'Dawlat al-Khilafa al-Islamiya'. Black flag with writing 'La Ilaha illa Allah' and in the circle 'Allah, Rasul, Muhammad'. Logo of the IS media outlet 'Mu’assasat Ajnad'. Logo of the IS media outlet 'al-I’tisam lil-Intaj al-I’lami'. Logo of the IS media outlet 'Mu’assasat al-Furqan lil-Intaj al-I’lami'.