[JURIST] Germany passed a bill banning on all images and activities in support of the Islamic State (IS) [JURIST news archive] Friday, effectively outlawing support for the group. The ban takes immediate effect [AFP report] and covers the recruitment of jihadist fighters, the use of IS symbols and social media propaganda. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere commented that IS poses a threat to Germany, as well as in Syria and Iraq, where the group operates. De Maiziere estimates that approximately 400 Germans have traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight on the side of IS. The German government had been working to implement a ban following an IS-led attack on a group of Yazidis in the western German town of Herford last month.
Iraq has faced mounting unrest since IS (also known as ISIS) began its insurgency in 2013. Earlier this week the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq [official website] Nickolay Mladenov called for immediate action [JURIST report] to stop the inhumane activity caused by IS in Amerli. The UN and Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] have consistently expressed alarm over the violence occurring in the country including numerous executions of Iraqi civilians, religious leaders and government affiliates by IS members and the Iraqi government's execution of Iraqi nationals for terrorism related offenses [JURIST reports]. The IS-instigated atrocities in Iraq began in June of 2013, two years after US troops pulled out [JURIST backgrounder] of the country. This violence was soon followed by the rebel group detonating [JURIST report] a series of car bombs near Bagdad in order to facilitate a prison raid, killing 60 people.