German AfD MPs under fire for anti-Muslim New Year's Eve messages

03 January, 2018, 02:15 | Author: Luis Fowler
  • Inciting hatred Beatrix von Storch deputy leader of Alternative for Germany, responded to a tweet by Cologne police in which they wished a Happy New Year in Arabic

A lawmaker from the far-right Populist Party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is now under investigation for incitement over a xenophobic New Year's Eve Tweet. "Are they seeking to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men?"

Following Von Storch's post in response to the police message, Twitter blocked her account for 12 hours for violating its content rules regarding hate speech.

Besides the social media slap on the wrist, Von Storch may be charged with incitement to hatred after Cologne's state prosecutor reportedly received "several hundred" criminal complaints. A requirement has now taken effect for "clearly criminal" posts to be deleted or blocked within 24 hours.

Rainer Wendt, who heads the right-leaning DpolG union, said that establishing a safe zone sends a "devastating message".

Cologne has been at the centre of a controversy over New Year's Eve celebrations since two years ago, when a large number of assaults against women - allegedly by men from migrant backgrounds - marred the festivities. "Why is an official police site. tweeting in Arabic?" she wrote in a December 31 tweet.

Police in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) posted a New Year's Eve greeting in Arabic as well as German, English and French.

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The incident comes only a month after Germany made a new law and will now enforce fines up to £44m on social media sites if they fail to remove "obviously illegal" posts.

In December, the social network booted Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen, who famously posted three bigoted anti-Muslim videos that were later shared by President Donald Trump, as well as least two other accounts tied to the United Kingdom -based group in what became known as the #TwitterPurge.

In June, in a question on Facebook of whether firearms should be used against women and children trying to cross the German border, Von Storch answered "yes".

In 2016, the party published a manifesto declaring Islam as "not welcome" in Germany.

The AfD won seats in the national parliament for the first time in September's election, riding a wave of discontent over Chancellor Angela Merkel's 2015 decision to let more than one million migrants and refugees, mostly Muslims, enter Germany.

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