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Pig’s blood & hate speech: Germany registered 950 attacks on Muslims in 2017

Pig’s blood & hate speech: Germany registered 950 attacks on Muslims in 2017
The German government registered at least 950 cases of Muslims and mosques being targeted or attacked in 2017. Muslim leaders claim that the figure accounts for only a fraction of crimes committed against Muslims in Germany.

In almost all cases, the perpetrators of the attacks were right-wing extremists, according to local media which obtained the data provided to lawmakers by the Interior Ministry. However, the documented offenses range in severity, from physical assault to internet “hate speech” directed at Muslim refugees.

German authorities registered 33 assaults that led to injuries and around 60 attacks directed against mosques – including cases in which places of worship were desecrated with pig’s blood. The figure also takes into account reports of threatening letters and “incitement” against Muslims on the internet.

Ninety rallies protesting the “Islamization of Germany” were also registered. However, right-wing Pegida marches held in Saxony were not counted in the figure.

The Interior Ministry only began separately collecting data about attacks that specifically targeted Muslims last year. While there’s no data from previous years available for comparison, Aiman Mazyek, who heads the Central Council of Muslims, told Germany’s Neue Osnabruecker Zeiting (NOZ) that the number of attacks against Muslims last year was likely much higher. 

According to Mazyek, German law enforcement and prosecutors are not yet “sensitized” to the new data collection method, leaving many cases unreported. Victims of such attacks also often fail to file formal complaints, he added.

Pointing to the recent electoral success of the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), Ulla Jelpke, Bundestag member and domestic affairs spokesperson for the left-wing Die Linke, told the paper that she feared anti-Muslim sentiment was spreading.

"The Islam haters have now made the leap from the streets to the Bundestag and contribute from the parliamentary tribune to the poisoning of the social climate against Muslim life in Germany."

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s controversial open door migrant policy – which has allowed more than a million refugees from Muslim-majority North Africa and the Middle East to seek asylum in Germany – has sharply divided Germany and is seen as being behind the meteoric rise of the right-wing AfD. In February, the anti-immigrant party even briefly surpassed the Social Democrats (SPD) to become the second-most supported party in Germany.

In recent years, Germany has also seen a spike in Islamic terrorism-related incidents. The government launched 1,200 investigations related to terrorism in 2017 – a fivefold increase compared to 2016. Of those cases, 1,000 involved suspected Islamic terrorism, according to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.

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