A German gay man has explained why he turned to the far-right political party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), after he was brutally attacked by ‘Muslim extremists’.
Karsten, 55, from Bremen, met former shadow secretary Ed Balls for his new documentary series, ‘Travels in Euroland’ which airs on BBC2 tonight at 9pm, and explained that despite the populist party’s anti-same-sex marriage policies, he chose to vote for them in 2017.
The taxi driver had always voted for the country’s left wing green political party, Alliance 90/The Greens, however was swayed after he and his partner Sven were brutally attacked, leaving Karsten with six plates and 17 screws in his head.
He told how the attack, from two men who soon fled to Syria, left him believing his partner was dead, and said the AfD were the only political group to reply to him after he contacted them about the incident.
Driving in his car, Karsten explained to the former Labour MP how while he doesn’t take issue with the town’s increasing refugee population, he fears a potential increase in crime against him as a gay man.
Karsten (pictured right) , 55, from Bremen, Germany met former shadow secretary Ed Balls (pictured left) for his new documentary series, ‘Travels in Euroland’ and explained why he turned to the far-right political party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), after he was brutally attacked
He told: ‘People are a lot more careful and more scared, every weekend there are people getting stabbed and people getting beaten up.
‘That’s what they said at the hospital, they said it’s crazy and the people who attacked us, they were extremists.
‘They attacked me and my partner. We were at the store and they probably knew we were together because two of them lived across the street from us.
‘Then my partner left the store and that’s all he remembers and then they started beating him up and kicking him in the head.
The AfD is an anti-euro party which has shifted it’s focus to immigration and Islam, they are against same-sex marriage
‘I found out and tried to help him, but then there was another one and it was dark outside and there was another one and they hit me with something from the side.’
Who are Alternative for Germany (AfD)
The Alternative for Germany party (AfD) were founded in 2013 by Alexander Gauland, Bernd Lucke, and Konrad Adam.
It was originally a centre-right conservative party who were generally Eurosceptic, though supportive of the EU.
By May 2015, the party split into two factions, one centred around Lucke and another led by elected speaker Frauke Petry, which favoured an anti-immigration approach.
Lucke’s faction left to found a new party, Alliance for Progress and Renewal, now the Liberal Conservative Reformers.
Over time, AfD’s focus has shifted towards on German nationalism, on reclaiming the country’s sovereignty and national pride.
The party is against same-sex marriage and favours civil unions.
The party is also against adoption for same-sex couples.
AfD supports the privatization of social programs and state owned enterprises.
The party is chaired by Jörg Meuthen and Tino Chrupalla.
Since 2017, AfD is the largest opposition party in the Bundestag.
Ed, 52, quizzed Karsten, asking: ‘Was it a robbery?’
He quickly replied: ‘No, they were trying to beat us up, because we’re together. I’m married to a guy.
‘They did a pretty good job, I had six plates and 17 screws in my head. So they were serious about it.’
He went on to detail the attack on his partner Sven: ‘He had a broken jaw, the bone around his eyes was broken.
‘He was bleeding like crazy. It was so bad I thought he was dead. He didn’t move at all, he was covered in blood.’
Later, on a visit to Karsten and Sven’s shared home, the driver showed Ed an old newspaper, in which local media had branded the men ‘ISIS terrorists’ and it was later revealed that they had both fled to Syria following their crime.
When asked by Ed whether he knew if the men were known terrorists, he said: ‘Yeah you see the ISIS flag there.
‘He came here from the war in the Yugoslavia and they got an invite to go to the police and they didn’t show up at the station.’
Karsten went on to explain: ‘I wrote to all the parties, I wrote to our senator. I wrote an email to the AfD and they promised to help us and they invited us to a meeting.’
When asked what they were looking for in the party, he went on: ‘The AfD said they would take care of the borders, try to get criminals out of here as fast as they can trying to get them arrested.
German MP for the AfD, Frank Magnitz (pictured) met Karsten and told him he feels marriage – and financial benefits that come with marriage – should remain between a man and a woman
‘What really has me now is they’re going more and more to the right, because now they’re fighting gay marriage – so if we voted for them they would cancel our marriage.’
Karsten is far from a supporter of the party, and his conflicting views over their far right policies was made evident after he met German MP for the AfD, Frank Magnitz.
Karsten shortly left the meeting, in the local town centre, after Magnitz declared that while he has nothing against same-sex relationships, he feels marriage – and financial benefits that come with marriage – should remain between a man and a woman.
Travels in Euroland with Ed Balls is on BBC2 tonight at 9pm.