Anna stopped coming to the mosque a few months ago. "She said she wanted to shift her focus elsewhere", the leader said. Apart from that, Anna didn't give any reasons for her decision. However, she still occasionally contacts her former mentor via WhatsApp. None of those involved knows whether Anna has chosen to go to another mosque. And if so, whether she may have joined a less moderate one or returned to her former mentors online.

Nightmare scenario: Afghanistan

And there's another thing that keeps troubling Elke Muller. The young man talked repeatedly about going back to Afghanistan in order to take care of his sick mother. "He said: 'When Anna is of age, we are going to get married.' And I just thought: Oh my God! If she goes to Afghanistan with him, I won't ever see her again."

She mainly associates the country with war, terror and the Taliban, and doesn't even know where in Afghanistan Abdul is from.

Anna has reassured her mother that she has no intentions of leaving, but instead wants to stay in Germany with Abdul. Elke Muller clings to this promise – as well as to the fact that her daughter wants to complete a degree in higher education. But she is afraid that Anna could throw all this overboard were she to marry.

According to social worker Wittmann, this fear is not completely unfounded. "It's not so unusual for a girl to follow her boyfriend abroad. I think Anna doesn't have enough knowledge about what is happening in Afghanistan at the moment and the situation there. At this point, Wittmann also has not ruled out a later radicalisation. "Anna is still very young. There is always a possibility that a personal crisis could upset her balance."

Meanwhile, Anna's birthday is coming closer and closer – the day that her mother fears so much. Then, she says, "I will know whether I am to lose her."

Esther Felden

© Deutsche Welle 2019

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