Germany’s shocking political crime problem

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has often been admired by outsiders for her switched-on socialist driven policy platform. Sadly, the underlying domestic security issue continues to deteriorate. Is it any wonder that we are witnessing the surge of populist parties across Europe? The following report is a damning indictment on what happens when people feel disenfranchised by the incumbent political class.

Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Interior (BfV) updated its factbook on the explosion in left and right wing groups and the rise of Salafists at home. To summarize:

In 2017, the BKA (Federal Criminal Police Office) registered 39,505 offences in the category of politically motivated crime, an increase of 20.4% over the 2014 figure.

Right wing extremist party membership has risen from 22,600 in 2015 to 24,000 in 2017. BfV notes,

In 2017, 286 offences motivated by right-wing extremism (2016: 907) were linked to accommodation centres for asylum seekers. These included 42 violent crimes (2016: 153), 16 of them arson attacks (2016: 65). One reason why the number of acts of violence motivated by right-wing extremism against accommodation centres for asylum seekers dropped is presumably the consistent practice adopted by many courts of partly imposing long prison sentences against perpetrators.

Reichsbürger” (“citizens of the Reich”) and “Selbstverwalter” (“sovereigns”) comprise groups and individuals who for various reasons deny the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany and reject its legal system. They claim that the German Reich survives, for example, they invoke conspiracy theorist arguments or refer to a law of nature of their own definition.

Some 16,500 people across Germany were classed as “Reichsbürger” or “Selbstverwalter” in 2017 (2016: 10,000). The majority of “Reichsbürger” and “Selbstverwalter” are male (approx. 74%) and over 40.

As well as being verbally aggressive, “Reichsbürger” and “Selbstverwalter” also have a great affinity with weapons. Almost 7% have a licence for firearms, a higher proportion than among the general population (approx. 2%). In 2017, some 1,100 “Reichsbürger” and “Selbstverwalter” held a gun licence. The security authorities are paying close attention to these groups because they pose a risk to others. The public authorities have revoked many licences, although the holders have often filed legal remedies against these measures. Most of the cases are still pending.

Left wing extremist party membership has risen from 26,500 in 2015 to 29,500 in 2017.

In 2017, 6,393 criminal offences were classified as left-wing politically motivated crimes with an extremist background (2016: 5,230), of which 1,648 were violent crimes (2016: 1,201). The BfV report states,

Autonomists make up the largest group of violence-oriented left-wing extremists. As they do not recognise the state’s monopoly on the use of force, autonomists generally deny the legality of government action. They regard violence against representatives of the state (e.g. police officers) as legitimate self-defence. Autonomists attempt to escalate demonstrations by means of mass militancy or they launch targeted, clandestine attacks against people or property. Their aim is to force the state to reveal its alleged “fascist nature” which it is supposedly hiding behind a democratic “mask”.

Islamic Extremists

Salafist movements in Germany have risen from 8,350 in 2015 to 10,800 in 2017 with the BfV noting on the whole, that all Islamist following in 2017 amounted to approximately 25,800 individuals, over 1,400 more than 2016. BfV did note,

The Salafist scene is the main recruiting source for jihad. Salafism in Germany enjoys undiminished popularity. In 2017, the number of Salafists in Germany once again increased by 1,000 to a total of 10,800. This makes the adherents of the Salafi ideology the only Islamist group seeing a significant increase in followers. This is particularly problematic when considering that political and jihadist Salafists share a common ideological basis. Despite the fact that political Salafists usually refrain from using violence, focussing on propaganda and recruitment activities they call “proselytising”, experience has shown that no clear distinction can be made between the two tendencies. Generally approving violence is an integral part of the Salafist ideology. Analysing the recent attacks carried out in Germany and in Europe has shown that jihadist activities are very often preceded by a Salafist radicalisation.

The BfV reports there were 30,550 foreigners posing a threat to the state in 2017 that weren’t of Islamist background. The largest part, i.e. 18,050 individuals, belong to left-wing extremist groups of foreigners, while 11,000 individuals were affiliated to right-wing extremist groups of foreigners, and 1,500 individuals had to be considered members or adherents of separatist groups of foreigners.

In the area of politically motivated crime by foreigners, 2,566 offences with an extremist background were registered (2015: 1,524), including 427 violent offences (2015: 235). The total number of criminal offences in this category thus increased by 68.4%, the number of violent crimes even by 81.7%. 

We should be careful what we wish for in Australia. The Labor Party’s promise to introduce new protection laws to compel speech is laced with danger. When people feel their freedoms have been removed one by one, eventually they will seek to take the law into their own hands. Forget civil disobedience. Australia risks heading the way of Germany.