Several shocking incidents of attacks on racial or religious minorities in Germany are making headlines for the last few years.
In June 2019, a pro-refugee regional official Walter Lübcke was gunned down at his home in Central Germany by a 45-year old man, Stephan-Ernt’s. According to the prosecutor, Dr. Walter Lübcke's argument in favor of accommodating refugees in the town of Lohfelden had instigated xenophobic and extremist thoughts in the mind of his killer.
Two people were killed by a heavily armed man during a failed attempt of massacre at a Synagogue in the city of Halle in October 2019. In yet another shootout, nine immigrants and ethnic-minority Germans were killed during an unrestrained shooting in Hanau on 19th February 2020.
The government investigations and media reports blamed individuals linked or influenced by the far-right extremists groups for these attacks.
In November 2011, government Investigations revealed that National Socialist Underground(NSU), a Neo-Nazi terrorist group has fuelled the Nazi idealogy for decades and is responsible for various killings including murders of immigrants and foreigners.
Another far-right group known as the Frietal Group, launched attacks on refugee shelter houses and political opponents in the town of Saxony in 2015, claiming that they are protecting Germany from foreigners.
The German law enforcement authority also arrested members of the Revolution Chemnitz in 2018, who were allegedly planning attacks on immigrants, journalists and political opponents. Eight members of the group were sentenced to several years in prison by a court in Germany on 24th March 2020.
Looking at the rampant spread of hate, Holger Munch, the president of Federal Investigative Police Agency of Germany (BKA), accepted that suspects of the right-wing extremist under the observation of BKA have increased from 4 in 2012 to 46 in 2020, adding that “the far-right poses a pernicious and growing threat with 3 acts of far-right violence every day”.
In order to curb the spread of hatred, xenophobia, and anti-semitism by the right-wing activists, the German Government drafted a nine-point strategy to combat the recent.
The key aspects of the nine-point strategy a) Internet Service Providers to report any hate speech forwarded/shared on Social Media or the Internet along with the IP address of the wrongdoer to the government authorities, b) Tighten Gun laws with a mandatory check on requests to keep arms by the domestic intelligence police (BfV) was another stance of the government, c) Revising the existing prevention programs aimed to tackle right-wing extremism, and d) Special protection for the politicians at local, state, and federal level who were considered to be under the threat from right-wing extremists.
The BKA President, Holger Münch said that by deploying a police patrol team online just like police officers patrol streets, the government can ensure promising results. With the increase in funding and personnel in Germany’s security apparatus sanctioned in the state budget discussion 2020, Münch reflected optimism that agencies could now work better and more efficiently in battling crime and violence.
Keeping aside the various controversies, it is also imperative to acknowledge the efforts of Dortmund, a western city in Germany, in curbing the rising trend of far-right extremism. Dortmund being an important city in the country invited migrants from Turkey and Southeast. More than 3000 immigrants from over 70 countries including Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan live here making it a hotspot, attracting xenophonic and far-right crimes.
In 2015, a special task force was set up in Dortmund to take action against far-right extremists and the city to a large extent has been successful in curbing their activities. According to the city's police chief, Gregor Lange, Offenses such as sedition, verbal assault, racist propaganda, and damage to property were down by 25%. Violent crimes such as arson and bodily assault went down by 35% year-on-year. The drop is even more impressive compared to five years ago, when figures were 50% and 80% higher, respectively.
The success of Dortmund city in fighting far-right extremism gives a hope that the nationwide implementation of nine-point strategy will help in curbing the rising trend of violent extremism in Germany