Germany sees its antisemitic crimes increase by 20% in 2018, accuses the extreme right


German Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer and Holger Muench, Chief Commissioner of the Federal Criminal Office of the German Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), attend a press conference on politically motivated crimes, Berlin, Germany . REUTERS / Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) – Antisemitic crime rose nearly 20 percent in Germany last year, the interior minister said Tuesday, accusing most of the incidents of people presuming to have a worldview of the far right.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that about 90% of the 1,800 reported incidents were perpetrated by supporters of far-right groups. The main offenses were hate speech, antisemitic graffiti and the display of banned signs such as the swastika.

This is a development that we have to face, especially in our country, "said Seehofer at a press conference, referring to Germany's Nazi past. "(That means) with all our means – it's a job for the police as well as for the whole of society."

Jews in Germany are alarmed by the rise of the ruling Nationalist Alternative Party for Germany (AfD), whose leaders have been accused of downplaying Nazi crimes and calling it a national memorial to victims of violence. Holocaust of "memorial of shame".

The AfD, which claims that Islam is incompatible with the German constitution, denies having racist ideas and has accused asylum seekers from Muslim-majority countries of increasing attacks on Jews and women. Jewish businesses.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who decided in 2015 to host nearly a million asylum seekers mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, contributed to the ramp-up of the AfD. She is committed to fighting all forms of racism with the full force of the law.

"We have the duty and the responsibility to defend our values ​​and our constitutional laws," she said at a separate event. "This is particularly the case when we have to fight against racism, anti-Semitic hatred and violence using all available legal means."

Although anti-Semitic incidents have increased, the total number of political crimes has decreased by 9%.

Report by Sabine Siebold; Written by Joseph Nasr; Edited by Mark Heinrich

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