Germany has witnessed growing racism and Islamophobia in recent years, fueled by the propaganda of far-right groups and parties, which have attempted to stoke fear of Muslims and immigrants to win more votes.
More than 900 Islamophobic hate crimes were recorded in 2020 and there has also been an increase in attacks targeting migrants, according to German Interior Ministry report Monday.
Nearly 80 mosques were attacked between January and December 2020, and at least 48 people suffered injuries due to Islamophobic violence, according to the figures in response to a parliamentary question by the opposition Left Party (Die Linke).
The German police recorded 901 anti-Muslim hate crimes and attacks last year, up from 884 a year earlier, according to latest figures. These included insults on social media, threatening letters, disruption of religious practice, physical assaults, and damage to property.
The number of people injured in Islamophobic violence rose from 34 in 2019 to 48 in 2020, according to the official figures. These attacks were mostly carried out by the neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists, according to the police.
A country of over 80 million population, Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country's nearly 4.7 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin.
Mosques in Germany under attack by far-right terror
Following two deadly shootings last year carried out by a terrorist harboring racist views, unidentified perpetrators painted swastikas and slogans on the walls of a mosque in the southern German town of Emmendingen, according to investigators. Police found similar graffiti at a nearby kindergarten and a primary school in a neighboring village.
On February 20, 2020, Tobias Rathjen gunned down nine immigrants, including five Turks, before killing himself in the German town of Hanau. It was one of the worst terrorist attacks with racist motives in recent memory.
The attack was a clear indication that far-right terrorism is on the rise in Germany. A spokesperson for the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) said that it currently had a list of 60 people that it officially considered as right-wing extremist Gefährder, a criminal designation for suspects considered threats to public safety.
Number of right-wing extremists on rise
An annual report on extremism in Germany released in July 2020 estimates the number of right-wing extremists in the country at 32,080 in 2019. This was an increase of almost 8,000 compared with 24,100 recorded in 2018.
The report, released by the BfV domestic intelligence agency, includes for the first time around 7,000 members of the Alternative for Germany party's youth section and a radical faction known as The Wing. Both have come under heightened scrutiny from the BfV because of their perceived extremist tendencies.
German authorities have stepped up measures against far-right extremism following the killing of a regional politician by a suspected neo-Nazi, an attack on a synagogue in Halle and the fatal shooting of nine people with Turkish and Muslim roots in Hanau over the past year.
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