‘Tense atmosphere in Germany as xenophobia & racism on the rise’

Police inspect the front of a mosque in Dresden, Germany on September 27, 2016, one day after an improvised bomb destroyed the entrance. © Matthias Schumann
The attacks in Dresden indicate that, as popular support for xenophobia rises in Germany and is being reluctantly dealt with by the police, far right groups are now starting to act, journalist and international affairs expert Michael Opperskalski told RT.

A mosque was damaged when two explosions went off in the German city of Dresden on Monday evening. Police suspect “xenophobic motives” for the attacks.

According to journalist and expert on international affairs Michael Opperskalski, xenophobia, anti-foreigner sentiment and “open neo-Nazi propaganda” have been on the rise in Germany.

[People across the country] are saying that some open neo-Nazi forces and open racist forces are thinking, discussing and organizing so-called militant action,” he told RT.

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The attacks in Dresden, he said, are “a very clear indication these kinds of people” have now swung into action. That is a very dangerous development, the journalist warns, as “very soon we might have in Germany a neo-Nazi, racist, xenophobic movement organization, which will use more and more violence including homemade bombs and other activities, which will be much more militant.”

According to Opperskalski, Germany is now facing a serious threat of terrorism not only from Islamists, but also from the far right groups and racists and the attacks on Monday was just one example of it.

What makes things worse is that Islamophobia, xenophobia and general anti-foreigner sentiment is getting support from ordinary people, the journalist said.

This is a very dangerous and very tense atmosphere,” Opperskalski said.

On the other hand, he went on, police and security forces have been “very reluctant and soft” in dealing with these groups.

They underestimate the fact that we have one party already in many regional parliaments and maybe next year [it will make it to the] national parliament, which is expressing exactly those kinds of feelings, strategies, thinking, etc. – it’s called Alternative for Germany (AfD). They have already infiltrated some of the state apparatus structures. We are going to a very dangerous situation,” Opperskalski said.

Founded in 2013, the right-wing, Euroskeptic AfD party currently has seats in ten out of 16 state assemblies.

Nationwide public support for the party has risen to 16 percent – its best numbers so far, according to a poll released by Germany’s public broadcaster ARD. Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) got 32 percent in the poll, while their coalition partners, Social Democrats (SPD) are supported by 22 percent. This means the AfD could become Germany’s third largest party leaving behind the Greens and the Left.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.