• Germany's news in English
German extremist groups 'getting bigger, more brutal'
A violent demo in Frankfurt in 2015. Photo: DPA

German extremist groups 'getting bigger, more brutal'

AFP · 29 Jun 2016, 09:41

Published: 29 Jun 2016 09:41 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"Extremist groups, whatever their orientation, are gaining ground in Germany," said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, presenting the 2015 report.

The security agency had "observed not just a rise in membership but also an increase in violence and brutality," he said in a statement.

Some 1,408 acts of far-right violence were recorded last year against 990 the previous year, said the service called the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

The sharp rise in racist hate crimes came as Germany took in a record number of more than one million refugees and migrants asking for political asylum, and as jihadist attacks in Paris and Brussels stoke terrorism fears in Europe.

"The intensity of right-wing extremist militancy started in early 2015 and increased steadily - from threats against politicians and journalists to arson attacks on asylum seeker shelters and attempted killings," said the report.

There were 75 arson attacks against refugee shelters in Germany, five times more than 2014.

The report said that online "social networks play an important role in agitation and radicalisation", as uninhibited hate speech dehumanises minorities and fuels real-world violent crime.

Far-left acts of violence - often targeting far-right activists or police - also rose sharply, to 1,608 violent offences from 995 the previous year, said the report.

The worst spate of attacks came during mass protests in March against the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, when rioters rampaged through streets and set ablaze police cars.

The service also pointed to the rising threat posed by Islamists, estimating their number at about 10,000.

Story continues below…

The report said it assumed that some jihadists and war criminals had entered the country with the massive refugee influx.

Other potential threats were posed by "self-radicalised" individuals, jihadist fighters returned from Syria and Iraq, and possible sleeper cells from militant groups, it said.

By late last year, more than 780 people from Germany had travelled to join jihadists in Syria and Iraq, although the number of departures was thought to have gradually declined.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd