Human Rights Watch urges Germany to combat surging anti-Muslim hate crimes

Human Rights Watch urges Germany to combat surging anti-Muslim hate crimes

Human Rights Watch urges Germany to combat surging anti-Muslim hate crimes

Germany’s Muslim communities report a surge in hate crimes since the escalation of Israel’s war on Gaza, triggered by biased media coverage and propaganda from far-right politicians.

Human Rights Watch has called on German authorities to take stronger measures against anti-Muslim racism, amid an alarming increase in racist attacks and hate crimes.

“The German government is falling short in protecting Muslims and people perceived to be Muslims from racism amid rising incidents of hate and discrimination,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday.

Germany’s Muslim communities reported a surge in Islamophobic hate crimes since the escalation of Israel’s war on Gaza, triggered by biased media coverage of the recent developments, and propaganda by far-right politicians.

Human Rights Watch expert Almaz Teffera underlined that the German government needs to change its approach to address anti-Muslim racism, and it should ensure better reporting and tracking of hate crimes targeting Muslims.

Human Rights Watch urges Germany to combat surging anti-Muslim hate crimes
“Without a clear understanding of anti-Muslim hate and discrimination in Germany, and strong data on incidents and community outreach, a response by the German authorities will be ineffective,” Teffera added.

‘Hate crimes on rise’

According to the official figures, German police registered 686 Islamophobic hate crimes and attacks between January and October last year, including threatening letters, verbal and physical assaults, vandalism and property damage.

The figures were well above the prior year when German authorities recorded 610 Islamophobic hate crimes and attacks for all of 2022. According to experts, the number of incidents is likely to be much higher, as Islamophobic and racist crimes are often not properly classified by authorities, and registered as incidents of insults or personal rows.

Many victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes also do not report such incidents to the law enforcement authorities due to a lack of trust in the police and judicial system, and the absence of an effective complaints mechanism.

Human Rights Watch urges Germany to combat surging anti-Muslim hate crimes
Demonstrators mark the anniversary of a far-right extremist attack on February 19, 2020 in Hanau, Germany, that killed nine persons of predominantly Muslim background, February 17, 2024.

Human Rights Watch said the German government should develop mechanisms for countrywide monitoring and data collection, based on clear indicators that would equip authorities with the necessary knowledge and tools to address the problem.

According to the Alliance Against Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate (CLAIM), a German network of nongovernmental organizations, 2023 marked “a frighteningly new high” for anti-Muslim incidents.

In November, the group documented an average of three anti-Muslim incidents a day. In one case, a man perceived to be Muslim was called a “terrorist” when exiting a public bus, assaulted, and hospitalised for his injuries.

A country of over 84 million people, Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. It is home to nearly 5 million Muslims, according to official figures.

Read more at: TRT World

 

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