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CRIME

Germany sees rise in number of Muslims injured in hate crimes

The number of Muslims injured during racist attacks in Germany clearly increased last year, as Islamophobic crime went up slightly overall.

Germany sees rise in number of Muslims injured in hate crimes
Police guard a mosque in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

According to a report in the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, 48 Muslims were injured in racially motivated crime in 2020, an increase from 34 in the previous year.

A further 77 incidents of attacks on mosques were also recorded, with neo-Nazis believed to have been behind most of the crime.

In total 901 Islamophobic crimes were recorded, up slightly from 884 the previous year.

The police started collecting figures on anti-Muslim crime in 2017, when 950 cases were recorded. The decision to pay more attention to this form of hate crime came after a spike in anti-Muslim campaigns by groups such as Pegida during the refugee crisis of 2015.

Crimes recorded as Islamophobic range from online hate speech to attacks on women wearing hijabs to Nazi symbols painted on Islamic buildings.

The news was met with condemnation from various rights groups. The American Jewish Committee wrote on Twitter that “this increasing propensity for violence must be fought determinedly by politics and civil society.”

Ulla Jelpke from the Left Party said that the statistics likely only represented the “tip of the iceberg”, adding that many people did not report the crimes due to a sense of shame.

Jelpke said that the government needs to bring in stronger anti-discrimination laws “so that the battle against discrimination towards Muslims becomes more than just empty promises”.

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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