In 2020 Germany saw more than 900 anti-Muslim attacks and 23,000 thousand far-right crimes, an increase from 2019.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes increased by two percent in 2020 compared to figures in 2019.

The figures were released by Germany’s Ministry of Interior after The Left party filed a freedom of information request on the matter.

Over the course of 2020, there were at least 901 Islamophobic and anti-Muslim crimes that were registered with authorities according to the Neuer Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ), a regional German newspaper where the numbers were first reported.

In 2019 there were more than 884 recorded incidences of anti-Muslim crimes in Germany. The increase in recorded anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2020 occurred despite the ongoing pandemic.

In the offences recorded 48 people were injured compared to 34 people injured in 2019 and two deaths.

According to the Ministry of Interior, there were 77 attacks on mosques which included graffiti and other forms of desecration.

A member of The Left party in Germany speaking to NOZ called the registered cases of anti-Muslim violence as only the “tip of the iceberg,” arguing that most victims do not go to the authorities to report Islamophobic attacks.

A report on Islamophobia in Europe found that widespread Islamophobia in Germany has resulted in the electoral success of anti-Muslim parties such as the party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

“The anti-Islamic AfD receives its intellectual superstructure from right-wing masterminds and publicists, whose main goals are to prevent an alleged Islamisation of German culture and to produce ‘cultural purity’,” the report said.

In the 2013 parliamentary elections, the AfD won just over 800,000 votes and was not represented in Germany’s federal parliament the Bundestag. In 2017, however, the party saw a major breakthrough gaining more than 5.3 million votes and becoming the largest opposition party in parliament.

Germany has belatedly come to terms with the challenge of rising far-right extremism pledging towards the end of 2020 to increase funds fighting racism and extremism.

Last year also saw the highest rates of far-right related crimes in the last four years. There were more than 23,000 crimes committed by the far-right in 2020, an increase of several hundred from 2019.

Pandemic related restrictions have been a catalyst for far-right activism in Germany.

In August of last year, far-right extremists and coronavirus sceptics attempted to storm the German parliament, shocking the country's political establishment.

Recruitment by far-right groups has been bolstered by rising frustration amongst sections of the public who feel lockdown measures are part of a conspiracy to restrict people's freedoms.

Germany politicians have discussed placing the AfD under surveillance for carrying out activists that go against the country's constitutional order, however, such efforts have often faltered because the party has sympathisers within the state machinery.

The AfD, however, hasn’t been one of the main beneficiaries from the coronavirus period, it has seen its polling numbers drop to 10 percent from 15 percent before the pandemic.

The authorities are not worried about other more virulent extremist groups who have been energised following the pandemic. 

Source: TRT World