Authorities registered at least 662 Islamophobic crimes in 2021, which included more than 46 mosque attacks and saw at least 17 people injured.
Germany has seen a rise in anti-Muslim attacks as far-right groups try to exploit domestic crises to stir hatred against minorities, a German anti-discrimination organisation says.
“The statistics have definitely increased, especially for women who wear a headscarf,” Suleyman Demir, project director at Inssan, an anti-discrimination group, said.
“We are also increasingly seeing from our community that not only men, but also women who wear the hijab and niqab are exposed to much more physical attacks like spitting, and this has actually increased significantly in recent years,” he continued.
Demir warned that far-right groups are trying to exploit the ongoing economic and energy crises in the country to stir fear and hatred against minorities and Muslims.
“It is easy to portray minorities as...scapegoats for political or economic problems, and the far-right groups naturally use this method to say that these minorities are to be blamed for the major economic crisis," he said. "Therefore, I see a connection between rising right-wing extremism and the economic situation.”
READ MORE: More than two attacks per day on Muslims in Germany in 2020
German authorities registered at least 662 Islamophobic crimes in 2021, which included more than 46 mosque attacks and saw at least 17 people injured.
During the first six months of 2022, German authorities recorded 152 Islamophobic attacks, with at least seven people injured.
These numbers may not reflect actual figures, explains Demir, as many Muslims don't report such incidents to the police.
“Sometimes they don't feel heard or seen and that's why they think, ‘Oh, why report it? There won't be any consequences,’” said Demir.
He urged better sensitivity training for police to tackle Islamophobic crimes.
“Police officers...are trained in transphobia or anti-Semitism but they are not trained in tackling anti-Muslim crimes,” he said, adding that many incidents of Islamophobia are not properly registered by police in crime statistics.
Demir said it is important for Muslims and minorities to be more politically active to strengthen democracy and counter the rise of the far-right.
“There are people from 180 to 200 different nations here, so I assume that Muslims will also feel at home here, especially those who were born here,” he said.
“They will take part in democratic decision-making and will, of course, also shape the future in Germany.”
Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France with total inhabitants of more than 84 million.
Among the country’s nearly 5.5 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin.
READ MORE: Anti-Muslim sentiments prevalent in Germany – study