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27 May, 2020 15:15

Germany sees SURGE in anti-Semitic and 'politically motivated' crime

Germany sees SURGE in anti-Semitic and 'politically motivated' crime

The German government has voiced alarm over the threat from the far right, after new figures showed a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic and politically motivated crime.

Anti-Semitic attacks rose by 13 percent in 2019, with more than 2,032 incidents recorded, and the number of politically motivated crimes surged 14 percent to 41,177.

The statistics were presented by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and the chief of the Federal Criminal Police Office, Holger Munch, at a media conference in Berlin. According to the data, more than a half of politically motivated crimes in 2019 were connected to the far right, which Seehofer described as the nation's “biggest threat.”

According to Deutsche Welle, the surge in anti-Semitic crime is the highest since Germany started compiling such data. More than 93 percent of such cases were linked to the far right. 

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According to the government, four percent of far-right crime consisted of physical violence, 36 percent of cases were "propaganda offenses," and 14 percent comprised “racist hate speech.”

Over the past year, Germany has seen a wave of high-profile crimes with an apparent racist motive. In 2019, an extremist named in the German media as Stephan E. confessed to assassinating pro-migrant politician Walter Lubcke in June of that year. He later changed his testimony, claiming that an accomplice, known as Markus H., had accidentally shot Lubcke during an argument.

Also last year, a man unsuccessfully tried to storm a synagogue in the city of Halle, and fatally shot two people nearby. In February 2020, another extremist opened fire on two hookah bars in the city of Hanau, killing nine people, before committed suicide.

Despite the alarming statistics, overall crime with a religious motive fell last year by 27 percent, to 425. According to RND media group, the tendency was due to the decline of the terrorist group Islamic State and a crackdown on radical Islamic groups in Germany.

Crimes committed by left-wing radicals rose by 24 percent, with around 10,000 cases in 2019. More than a half of such incidents related to property damage.

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