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Attacks against Muslims and mosques in Germany decreasing

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Attacks against Muslims and mosques in Germany decreasing
Police guard a mosque in Berlin. Image: DPA
12:12 CEST+02:00
A new study shows a drop in ‘hate crime’ incidents in Germany against Muslims and mosques in 2018.

The number of injuries increased however, indicating a decrease in prevalence but a spike in severity.

In total, 813 Islamophobic and anti-Muslim crimes were recorded last year, down from 950 in 2017. 

The official figures however showed that injuries as a result of the attacks had risen, with 54 reported in 2018 -- an increase on 32 from the previous year. 

The numbers were released by the German parliament in response to a request by Die Linke (The Left) political party and reported in the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

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Progress in integration or a mirage?

Critics of the figures have argued that the decrease does not illustrate the successful integration of refugees or a diminution in overall anti-Muslim sentiment. Instead, they argue that there is a large number of incidents which continue to go unreported. 

Die Linke’s Ulla Jelpke, who put through the request, told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that anti-Muslim sentiment manifests itself in many ways. 

“The statistics are only the tip of the iceberg, as many everyday abuses, insults and other forms of discrimination against Muslims are not recorded at all,” Jelpke said. 

Far-right extremists or a more mainstream trend? 

Authorities assume that the vast majority of the attacks are carried out by far-right extremists rather than members of the mainstream German community. 

A mosque in Berlin's outskirts after an arson attack adorned with Turkish and German flags. The sign reads 'We condemn arson attacks on a place of worship'. Image: DPA

The findings listed a number of different ways in which anti-Muslim sentiment had been expressed, including verbal or written threats, Nazi-themed graffiti and property damage. 

Due to the way in which crimes of this nature are recorded, it is difficult to get a complete idea of the prevalence of xenophobic sentiment and the ideology of the perpetrators. 

A similar body for Muslims in Germany

The Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, Aiman ​​Mazyek, has suggested that the decrease does not indicate a growing acceptance of Muslims in Germany. 

Instead, Mazyek argues that as fewer refugees come to the country, Muslims are less visible targets for xenophobes and right-wing extremists. 

He has called for the German government to create a representative body or commission which deals with crimes against Muslims, much like has been done recently to tackle anti-Semitism. 

As reported by The Local in January, a new federal reporting centre was developed to tackle anti-Semitism across Germany amid rising fears of xenophobia and hate crimes against Jewish people. 

One of the primary reasons for the creation of the centre was to more accurately collate information relating to attacks against Jewish people in Germany, whether or not these were criminal in nature.

“(Appointing or creating) such a representative at a federal and state level is necessary than ever, because there is a latent anti-Muslim sentiment across Germany,” Mazyek said. 

He also called for police to be better trained to deal with these crimes. 

“It is necessary to train and sensitize the judiciary and police so that all of the (anti-Muslim) acts are properly recorded." 

 
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