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Germany’s Extremism on the Rise

Published: 13/11/2012 01:18:33 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Right-wing extremism is notably rising in Germany, particularly in the east of the European country, a new study has warned urging government's action against the phenomenon. It is especially worrying that the stud (more)

CAIRO - Right-wing extremism is notably rising in Germany, particularly in the east of the European country, a new study has warned urging government's action against the phenomenon.

"It is especially worrying that the study shows a new generation of right-wing extremism," the authors of the study, released by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, told Der Speigel.

"The structural problems in eastern Germany, which have still not been adequately addressed even 20 years after reunification, are reflected here, as is this generation's feeling that they are not needed," they added.

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The findings of the study titled, "The Changing Society: Right-wing Views in Germany 2012," were released by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation on Monday in Berlin.

Compared to the foundations' past studies, which it has published once every two years since 2006, the number of Germans identifying with right-wing world views has grown.

The report indicates that 9 percent of Germans have adopted extreme right-wing beliefs, up from 8.2 percent two years ago.

Based on surveys conducted during the summer, the study found right-wing extremism varied greatly, depending on the region.

Compared to 2010, western German states showed a slight decrease from 7.6 percent to 7.3 percent overall.

In regions in what was once East Germany, however, researchers found such attitudes jumped from 10.5 percent to 15.8 percent.

Still, the researchers warned against classifying the problem as an eastern German one, explaining that socio-economic structures have far more influence than location.

Big cities like Hamburg and Berlin, for example, showed more heartening results than rural areas.

Surprisingly, people from urban areas with more immigrants exhibited greater tolerance.

It is "not surprising," the study says, that immigrants showed lower levels of right-wing extremist attitudes.

Action Needed

The authors of the study warned against rising extremism among German people, calling for government's interference to solve the problem.

"The basis for right-wing extremist attitudes in Germany remains high," the study's authors conclude.

While they were optimistic in 2010 that strengthened social structures would be enough to combat such a development, this time their conclusion is "more cautious," they add.

They urged the government to combat rising extremist attitudes among Germans.

"Action at all levels -- whether it is in education work, the media, civil society or democratic parties -- is urgently needed," the report says.

"Because the approval that right-wing extremist messages receive within the German population is unsettling for a number of reasons."

Germany has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-commissioned studies.

Far-right politicians across Europe have accelerated their rhetoric against Muslim minorities in recent years.

Germans have grown hostile to the Muslim presence recently, with a heated debate on the Muslim immigration into the country.

A recent poll by the Munster University found that Germans view Muslims more negatively than their European neighbors.

In Auguest 2011, Germany's daily Der Spiegel had warned that the country is becoming intolerant towards its Muslim minority.

According to a 2010 nationwide poll by the research institute Infratest-dimap, more than one third of the respondents would prefer "a Germany without Islam."

Reproduced with permission from