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Germany

Report: Far-right Crimes Soared in 2008 in Germany

Crimes and others offenses committed by extreme right-wing political groups jumped by almost one-third percent last year, a German newspaper quoted on Saturday, Dec. 27, quoting interior ministry figures.

skinheads

Right-wing offenses are on the rise

The daily Frankfurter Rundschau reported that 11,928 far-right incidents occurred during the first 10 months of 2008, a 30 percent increase over 2008 compared with 9,206 in the same period the year before.

The number of violent attacks went up 15 percent to 639, while incidents of anti-Semitism rose from 716 to 797.

Sebastian Edathy, a social democratic politician who chairs the parliamentary committee on home affairs, has called on the government to organize a "democracy summit" to strategize on ways to effectively fight right-wing extremism.

Prejudice

A survey carried out by the Friedrich Ebert Institute found that 20 percent of Germans are openly prejudiced against foreigners. In the former East Germany, where people have much less interaction with foreigners, the ratio is one in three, the survey said.

NPD march

The rising far-right menace has many calling for a ban of the NPD party

The topic of right-wing extremism in German has taken on renewed prominence in Germany. Earlier this month, a police chief in the Bavarian city of Passau was stabbed by a suspected neo-Nazi. Alois Mannichl survived the attack outside his home and investigators are now searching for suspects.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that attacks by neo-Nazis represent a danger to all Germans, and calls are mounting for the banning of the National Democratic Party (NPD), the most prominent of the

legal far-right parties in Germany.

Politicians are considering going to the country's Constitutional Court to impose such a ban, but do not want a repeat of a 2003 ban attempt that failed.

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