German society ‘brutalised’ as far-right crimes hit record levels


The Guardian, 4 May 2021.

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"German society ‘brutalised’ as far-right crimes hit record levels

Germany’s interior minister has said that a dramatic rise in rightwing extremist crime demonstrates a “brutalisation” of society and poses the biggest threat to the country’s stability.

Horst Seehofer said politically motivated crime in general was a growing problem, pledging more police surveillance of protest groups as a result.

Police recorded almost 24,000 far-right crimes last year, a rise of almost 6% on the previous year and the highest level since records began 20 years ago. Crimes ranged from displaying Nazi symbols and antisemitic remarks to physical attacks and murder. Activities targeted mainly immigrants, refugees and black Germans, but also included a rise in anti-Asian violence, linked to the pandemic.

Politically motivated crime in general rose by almost 9% to almost 45,000, with just under 11,000 incidents having a leftwing extremist background, including 1,526 cases of violence. Islamist crime was also notably higher than in previous years, Seehofer said.

Antisemitic attacks, which increased by almost 16% and had mainly been carried out online, were, Seehofer said, “not only alarming but owing to the context of our history, also deeply shameful”.

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said the German numbers highlight a broader issue. “This is a wake-up call, not just for Germany, but for the whole world,” he said. “These figures should ring alarm bells, because we are seeing similar trends across the western world.”

Seehofer said the data showed “what I’ve been saying since the start of my period in office: that rightwing extremism is the biggest threat for security in our country, as the majority of racist crimes are committed by people from within this group”."

Source: The Guardian, 4 May 2021

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