Aljazeera (02.01.2018) – http://bit.ly/2EKlcUm – A far-right German politician has been condemned for an anti-Arab and anti-Muslim Tweet, which briefly saw her suspended from the platform.
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) MP Beatrix von Storch said Cologne police were appeasing “barbaric, gang-raping, Muslim hordes” when they tweeted out a New Year’s Day message in Arabic.
Under newly introduced German hate laws, social media platforms must respond quickly to remove hate speech or face fines of up to 50 million euros ($60m).
Von Storch was condemned for the tweet by some social media users, but far-right activists rallied around her, accusing Twitter and the German authorities of censorship.
Once considered part of the eurosceptic right, the AfD has transformed into a hard-right, anti-Islam party in recent years.
That change occurred in the aftermath of the ongoing European refugee crisis, which saw more than a million people, mainly from Syria and Iraq, either claim refuge in Germany or transit through the state to other European nations.
In 2016, the party published a manifesto declaring Islam as “not welcome” in Germany.
Bernd Lucke, one of the party’s founders, resigned in 2016, condemning it as “Islamophobic and xenophobic”.
Rallies against the AfD regularly draw thousands of Germans, but that hasn’t stopped the party’s electoral success.
In September 2017, it became the first far-right party since the Nazis to enter the German parliament, after picking up 12.6 percent of the vote, which equalled 94 seats.