Far-right terrorism and Islamophobia in Germany

Hanau attack has underlined the problems of Islamophobia and xenophobia in Germany (Source: DW)

by Guido Keller

The German Minister of Internal Affairs called the event occurred in Hanau as an act of terrorism perpetrated by a man related to the far-right movements.  Recent events have underlined the rise of Islamophobia and xenophobia in Germany, especially against Turks, Kurds and Arab migrants.

On February 19th, 2020, the 43-year-old Tobias Rathjen, indicated by the media as belonging to an extreme right-wing network, attacked two shisha bars in the city of Hanau (Germany) before returning to his apartment where he killed his mother and then committed suicide. The violent attack caused 11 death and four seriously injured.

The investigator founded a letter in the attacker’s apartment where he stated the need for destroying those people ‘with whom it is not possible to live with and whose expulsion from Germany is no longer possible’.

Although all the German authorities condemned the terrorist attack and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her condolences for the incident, this is the last of a serious of episodes of Islamophobia and xenophobia in the country. For instance, five days ago 12 right-wing extremists including a policeman were arrested in Germany because they were members of a subversive organization whose aim was to shake up and eventually destroy the democratic cohesion system and to bring the ‘civil war’ in the country.

Alongside the latest violent attack or the recent arrests, there are also an infinite number of physical and verbal attacks with a racist background against cultural centres for migrants, mosques,  while openly xenophobic political movements take hold.

Why Hanau’s attack matters? Because it highlights the spread of Islamophobia and xenophobia in Germany and the rise of far-right movements. Although the German government has often described the country as a multicultural society where Turks, Kurds, and Arab people are an essential part of the society, economic and migration crisis have affected the coexistence between the Germans and migrants or citizens with foreign roots. Germany risks experimenting with the well-known ‘clash of civilization’ that Samuel Huntington described in the ’90s as the destabilizing factor of modern society.