Racist and anti-Semitic hate crime rose nearly 20 per cent in Germany last year, while Islamophobic attacks dropped
- Germany recorded 7,701 xenophobic criminal acts last year – a 19.7% increase
- Anti-Semitic offences totalled 1,799 after a similar increase last year from 2017
- Almost 90% of perpetrators had right-wing extremist background, officials said
- Islamophobic crimes dropped by 165 and anti-Christian attacks also decreased
Xenophobic and anti-Semitic hate crime rose by nearly 20 per cent in Germany last year, according to the latest interior ministry data published today.
In its report, the ministry listed 7,701 xenophobic criminal acts, a jump of 19.7 per cent compared to 2017.
Anti-Semitic offences totalled 1,799 after a similar increase on 19.6 per cent.
Almost 90 per cent of perpetrators had a right-wing extremist background, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told a press conference.
While anti-Semitism was on the increase, Islamophobic crimes were down from 1,075 in 2017 to 910 in 2018, while anti-Christian attacks also decreased from 129 to 121.
Participants of the ‘Berlin wears kippa’ rally wear kippas in Berlin last year to show solidarity with Jews after a spate of shocking anti-Semitic assaults
Despite a post-war culture of repentance for the Nazi era and Holocaust, Germany has not bucked a European tend of increasing hate speech and attacks against Jews.
In figures revealed in February the German government said police recorded 1,646 offences motivated by hatred against Jewish people last year.
Among these were 62 violent offences that left 43 people injured, up from 37 physical attacks the previous year.
A mass influx of mostly Muslim refugees and migrants to Germany from 2015 drove the rise of the far-right and anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which since late 2017 is the biggest opposition group in parliament.
Leading AfD members, aside from railing against Islam and multiculturalism, have also made comments that play down the Holocaust.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed his concern at the Berlin launch of a European network called Combating Anti-Semitism Through Education.
All over Europe, hatred of Jews and violence against minorities are now rampant, Maas said.
Around 2,000 people gathered for a march against anti-Semitism in Berlin last April, as the reports of such crimes increased dramatically
Historical awareness is the best shield against intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism, he said, urging efforts to close ‘gaps in knowledge’.
The challenges had increased with the arrival of migrants who grew up with anti-Semitic stereotypes, he said, stressing however that anti-Semitism is ‘not an imported product’.
Maas urged tolerance toward all minorities, saying that ‘in a free and tolerant Europe, we must protect a woman with a headscarf from insults and assaults just as we must protect a man with a kippa’.
Felix Klein, Germany’s commissioner for anti-Semitism said he was ‘extremely alarmed’ by the sharp rise.
‘Against the background of falling inhibitions and brutalisation of the social climate in Germany, I had expected an increase in anti-Semitic crimes in 2018,’ Klein told German daily Welt.
‘However, I consider the fact that the increase was so high to be extremely alarming.
Klein said Germany must now ‘mobilise all our forces in politics and civil society’ to counter ‘this trend’.