A far-right terrorist is suspected to have gone on a deadly shooting spree just three days after German Muslim groups called for state 'protection' from extremists.
A letter of confession found in the home of a suspect in a deadly shooting spree targeting Shisha bars in the western German city of Hanau appears to confirm a far-right motive for the killings.
At least nine people are confirmed dead in attacks on two separate locations in the city near the country’s financial hub of Frankfurt.
The suspected killer and another individual, thought to be the attacker's mother, were also found dead at the residence after armed police launched a raid.
While the details of those killed are yet to filter through, German media reports suggest the victims included young members of the country’s minority Turkish community.
The attack, is being investigated as a terrorist incident by German officials.
From the details that have emerged so far, the methodology resembles the tactics used in the Paris terror attacks - a hail of bullets in one location, followed by another round of shooting at a location somewhat far away.
It comes just days after the arrest of 12 far-right extremists, who were suspected of planning terrorist attacks on six mosques across the country.
Muslim groups have been demanding protection given the threats from the far-right for several years now.
In October, a similar shooting spree targeting Jews in the town of Halle killed two people - the suspect, in that case, was identified as a Neo-Nazi.
Neo-Nazis have long been a prominent presence on the fringes of German society despite the torrid legacy of Nazi rule.
Once considered a taboo, far-right ideas have steadily gained a foothold within the German political system and wider society.
The main targets of the resurgence of far-right hate have been the country’s Muslim community, which is made up mainly of people of Turkish and Arab origin.
Germany’s main far-right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), enjoys mass public support with 89 of the 709 seats available in the German parliament, known as the Bundestag.
While Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has ardently opposed the normalisation of the AfD, many within her party, the Christian Democrat Union (CDU), have lobbied to form coalitions with the far-right group at regional parliamentary level.
The AfD’s activity includes regular baiting of Muslims and the circulation of racist caricatures of predominantly Muslim groups.
In 2019, it put up paintings across Berlin of Muslim men of various colours inspecting a naked slave girl with the caption ‘Europeans vote AfD! So Europe doesn't become Eurabia!".
As recently as Wednesday it was condemned for distributing a colouring book which included racist depictions of the country’s Turkish minority. In it, veiled women and gangsters were depicted waving Turkish flags and firing pistols.
Not just the fringes
The scale of racist hatred is not limited to just the fringes or even to just the AfD. Racial controversies have even affected Germany’s greatest footballers, including Mesut Ozil.
The Arsenal star quit the national team in 2018 after Germany’s poor showing in the World Cup. Many media outlets had made him the scapegoat for their first-round departure.
Ozil said that he was “German when we win, an immigrant when we lose.”