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Germany sees Islamophobic crimes more than double last year

April 15, 2024 at 1:27 pm

Police officers stand guard in front of the entrance to the venue of the so-called Palestine Conference in Berlin, Germany on 12 April, 2024 [JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images]

The number of Islamophobic crimes in Germany more than doubled last year, media reports said on Monday.

According to the German Press Agency, citing a government reply to an inquiry by Christian Democratic Union (CDU) lawmaker Christoph de Vries, in 2023 there were 1,464 crimes nationwide classified as Islamophobic, compared with 610 in the previous year. Police have already reported 137 Islamophobic crimes in the first quarter of this year.

The dramatic surge in anti-Muslim hate crimes is linked to the escalating Israeli war against the Palestinians in Gaza. The German government has repeatedly expressed concern about the rise in anti-Muslim racism in the country since 7 October.

Any attacks on Muslims in Germany, for religious or other reasons, are “absolutely unacceptable,” government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit was quoted as saying. “The nearly five million Muslims in Germany have every right to be protected,” he added.

The Berlin-based Alliance Against Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate had also warned of growing anti-Muslim racism amid the escalating Israel-Palestine conflict in Gaza.

“We are witnessing an intensification of anti-Muslim racism in Germany. This is something we should all be concerned about and needs to be taken seriously,” said Rima Hanano, the head of the NGO. “We must not allow inhumane positions to be further normalised and thereby jeopardise social cohesion. All people must be protected from racist, anti-Semitic and other inhumane violence and threats.”

With a population of over 84 million people, Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Of the country’s nearly 5.3m Muslims, more than three million are of Turkish origin.

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