German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been pronounced Times Person of the Year by Time magazine yesterday, mostly because of her handling of the refugee crisis. But within Germany her positive “Wir schaffen das!” (We can do it) approach to refugees is one of the reasons of the rise of right-wing extremist attacks in the country. Also right-wing movements, such as Pegida are gaining more support, and parties like the reigning coalition member CSU (sister party of Merkel’s CDU in the rest of Germany) in Bavaria are opposing her more and more openly and are asking for the Chancellor to cap the number of refugees allowed into Germany, knowing that there is no acceptable way to enforce such a cap.
Right-wing extremists seem to feel encouraged by the situation and as a result there has been a four-fold increase in attacks on refugee hostels in the country compared to the previous year, as stated by Germany's Federal Criminal Office yesterday (December 9). This year's four-fold increase amounted to a total of 817 attacks on buildings sheltering asylum seekers, including arson, property damage, racist propaganda and incitement. Police attributed at least 733 of the incidents to persons with right extremist motivations. In the whole of last year, Germany's Federal Criminal Office (BKA) had recorded 199 crimes directed at asylum seeker hostels, of which 177 were far-right motivated. Most of the crimes happen in the Eastern part of the country.
"It is shameful when within one year the number of arson attacks soars to such an extent," German Justice Minister Heiko Maas told the Funke media concern.
Last Wednesday, the Hamburg-based weekly newspaper "Die Zeit" reported that few such politically motivated attacks were being solved by Germany's justice system. Only in 12 of 222 serious anti-foreigner attacks had charges been brought against single or multiple suspects, said Die Zeit. German police have also been criticised in media (most recently in yesterday’s “Anne Will” talk show”) for lack of effort in solving anti-foreigner attacks by a smaller number of police officials.