In Germany, Anti-Muslim Extremists May Pose as Big a Threat as Islamist Militants


In Germany, Anti-Muslim Extremists May Pose as Big a Threat as Islamist Militants

When an 18-year old German Iranian killed nine people and then shot himself on Friday in Munich, speculation that it was an Islamist attack circulated for hours. But doubts arose when a video was uploaded in which the attacker can be heard shouting: “I am German.”

German media cited police sources as saying that they now had credible information that the attacker was a right-wing extremist who hated Arabs and Turks. Although he was not thought to have been associated with any right-wing groups, according to those media reports, the sources called him a “racist.” His victims were mostly foreigners.

Germany is still wrestling with the anti-Muslim terror group National Socialist Underground (NSU), which killed 10 people — most of them Turks — between 2000 and 2007. Investigators had initially blamed Germany’s immigrant community for most of the deaths, characterizing them as the result of infighting and organized-gang activity.

Two of the NSU suspects later killed themselves; a third, Beate Zschäpe, is on trial in Munich. The attacks have fostered deep mistrust between Germany’s large immigrant community and authorities: The country’s intelligence services stand accused of having deliberately ignored clues that right-wing extremists had carried out the killings. Last year, authorities raided homes across Germany and took four anti-Muslim terrorism suspects into custody. They were accused of having planned attacks on mosques and asylum seekers… Critics of the government say it is striking that the only terror group that was able to kill without being held accountable for years was not an Islamist organization but a homegrown extremist group that primarily targeted Muslims.

In recent months, new details have emerged that have prompted questions about whether Germany’s negligence of the far-right threat might be even more acute than first assumed.

Read more at: Washington Post

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