Germany reports rise in far-right extremists

The German intelligence services estimate the country has 12,700 right-wing extremists who are “violence-oriented”.

Far-right violence in Germany rose from 48 extreme acts of violence registered last year, compared 28 in 2017, including six racially motivated murder attempts.

The annual report by the intelligence services on anti-constitutional activities, estimated there were 24,100 right-wing extremists in 2018, unchanged from the previous year.

The report said around 12,700 of them were “violence-oriented”.

Extremism also fuels anti-semitic violence with the report noting an “increase in sedition with anti-Semitic motives”.

Groups rejecting the legitimacy of the federal democratic order, defined as “anti-state”, also increased their membership.

“Reichsb├╝rger”, or citizens of the Reich and “Selbstverwalter” that explicitly “withdraw” from German society, rose to 19,000 last year from 16,500 in 2017.

“The persistently high levels of verbal aggression and the intrinsic risk potential require intensive observation in the future,” the intelligence report said.

Islamism

About 1,000 Germans travelled to Syria and Iraq to join so-called Islamic State after 2013 and around a third of them have since returned to Germany.

Although some died in combat and others are in prison, many militants appear to have fallen off the state’s radar.

More than 160 German Isis supporters who travelled to Syria and Iraq have gone missing, Welt am Sonntag reported, citing figures from Berlin’s Interior Ministry.

The ministry said it was unlikely Isis volunteers would pass unnoticed in Germany, as “various measures, including wanted lists or entry bans make uncontrolled re-entry much more difficult”.

Free Democrat Party secretary general Linda Teuteberg said it was alarming further measures were not in place to prevent ex-combatants from the extremist group from re-entering Germany, “in light of the known patchy protection at the EU’s external borders”.

Teuteberg, whose party made the freedom of information request, also accused the authorities of having “no plan for dealing with foreign fighters from Germany” or holding them accountable for their overseas activity.

“This applies to the Germans detained in the conflict zones, as well as the more than 200 former IS supporters who are now back in Germany,” she told the paper.

She asked if Germany could investigate and prosecute war crimes abroad.

Berlin said about 1,050 Germans travelled to West Asia to join terror groups after 2013. About a third returned to Germany, with some facing prosecution or enrolment in rehabilitation programmes. About 220 others were reportedly killed in Syria or Iraq with many held in prisons abroad.

Germany has seen a rise in intolerance. Picture credit: Wikimedia

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