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How is Germany Falling into the Hands of the Far-Right?

2022/05/24 18:05:00 | Adham Hamed | Reports
Crime rates by Right wing supporters are reaching an all-time high record
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A report issued by Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office on May 10 on crime rates in the country suggests that a far-right "monster" may be already out of control.

According to the report, German police have identified 55,048 "politically and religiously motivated" crimes, a description used to refer to racist crimes in general, a 23% increase in one year, the highest level ever recorded since the beginning of its archives and classification in 2001, according to a report by German website DW.

Most of the crimes were committed by right-wing extremists, and police counted some 22,000 far-right-wing crimes, up 7% from 2020, according to the report by the Federal Criminal Police Office.


COVID-19’s Denial

Although the number of COVID-19 infections in Germany is declining, the epidemic has indirectly caused a surge in statistics on politically motivated crime.

The majority of recorded crimes are linked to protests against COVID-19 government measures and subsequent damage to public property, according to Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser in Berlin described the killing of a 20-year-old gas station employee in Idar-Oberstein as a serious turning point, with the perpetrator shooting the young worker because he told him to wear the mask.

The 55,048 crimes recorded by the police represent a 23 percent increase in one year and represent the highest level ever recorded by the highest crime rates since the beginning of their archives and classification in 2001.

The Office stated that most of the crimes were committed by right-wing extremists. Police counted some 22,000 far-right-motivated crimes, a 7% increase over 2020.

According to a recent investigation, German authorities have identified 327 right-wing extremists among troops, police officers, and intelligence officials.

At a news conference in Berlin on Friday, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and the country's domestic intelligence head, Thomas Haldenwang, delivered the government's findings.

According to Faeser, between July 2018 and June 2021, authorities investigated approximately 860 suspected far-right cases in security services and discovered solid evidence of right-wing extremism in 327 incidents.

In roughly 500 cases, inquiries into far-right occurrences inside the security services resulted in disciplinary punishment.

“There is no place for right-wing extremists in security services,” he stressed, adding that authorities will take stronger measures against far-right groups, such as the Reichsbürger.

She stated that the administration is taking the issue seriously and would take significant measures to combat the far-right infiltration of governmental institutions.

"We will not allow right-wing radicals to undermine our democratic state from inside," the Social Democrat lawmaker emphasized.

German authorities have long been chastised for downplaying concerns of racism and discrimination, as well as a perceived tolerance of right-wing extremists.

In March, Chancellor Olaf Scholz's coalition administration unveiled a new "action plan" to combat racism and promised tougher measures to address the rising danger presented by the far-right.


Escalating Violence

In 2019, prominent pro-immigrant politician Walter Lübcke was assassinated by a bullet fired by far-right Stephan Ernst, whose life imprisonment was ruled by a court in Frankfurt, Germany, in January 2021, according to a BBC report.

Lubke, chairman of the Kassel City Council and a senior member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), was shot in the head at close range, and Ernst, 47, admitted shooting Lübcke, 65, at his home.

That incident was considered the first political assassination by a far-right member in modern Germany after the Second World War.

Holger Munch, head of the Federal Office of criminal police in Germany, describes environments that are often difficult to assess from a police point of view as a "mixed, heterogeneous landscape." Adding that what "consipray theorists" do is largely "anti-state."

In particular, the number of crimes recorded by the Federal Criminal Police Office—that investigators do not consider left-wing, right-wing, or motivated by foreign or religious ideology—has increased by nearly 150 percent, from 8,600 to more than 21,000.

Like the COVID-19 demonstrations, which are now receding, it should be noted in particular that the extreme right has tried to use protests as a tool for its own purposes and to "establish a link to the democratic civic status of society." However, this has been a significant success, Holger Munch, head of the Federal Office of criminal police in Germany, said.

Although the number of cases in this area is declining slightly, it still accounts for the largest share of all crimes at 40 percent.

Social psychologist Etris Hashemi admits there are many references to right-wing extremism among protesters against COVID-19’s measures.

"The ideology of conspiracy theory towards the world is closely intertwined with racist and anti-Semitic elements. All this endangers people who are identified as enemies."

Hashemi himself has experienced what it means to be targeted by racists. As a survivor of the 19 February 2020 attack in Hanau, Hessen state, he is often critical of the treatment of police and politicians in Germany.

With the goal of combating racism, Hashemi has high hopes above all for the plan of action against right-wing extremism.

“At the same time, the Interior Minister and security authorities must deal with a new phenomenon of possibly politically motivated violence originating from Russia's war against Ukraine. In response, the Federal Office of the Criminal Police also registers related offenses in Germany,” he said.





55,000 crimes in a year: Historic increase in racist crimes reveals the extent of the ‘brutality’ of Germany’s extreme right [Arabic]


Germany: Hundreds of far-right extremists working in security services


Germany getting more extreme? Unprecedented level of politically motivated crimes [Arabic]

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