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Germany's justice minister has suggested the domestic intelligence service monitor and develop a case against the AfD party. The anti-mass-immigration party is polling 10 percent support.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas told RND News that the Alternative for Germany (AfD) was "long on its way to becoming a case" for the BfV domestic intelligence, the service responsible for monitoring extremist organizations and protecting the constitution.
"Whoever wants to let refugees, men, women and children be shot at the border, they represent inhumane positions," Maas said, referring to comments by AfD head Frauke Petry (pictured above).
Petry said in an interview last month that Germany "must prevent illegal border crossings and even use firearms if necessary" to stem the influx of refugees entering the country.
The AfD leader clarified that "armed force is the last resort" but that border controls were necessary.
The comments set off a torrent of criticism against the AfD, which has seen its support in polls rise to 10 percent as many Germans increasingly become wary of an open-door refugee policy.
Maas said BfV monitoring would dampen public support for the AfD, which he said has stoked fear and resentment to profit politically.
"We cannot prepare the ground for people who have waited for the increase of refugees or the series of events on New Year's Eve in Cologne to find a justification for xenophobia and racism," Maas said, in reference to alleged sexual assaults carried out by men described as Arab and North African.
Maas' comments carry little practical weight. The Interior Ministry, not the Justice Ministry, is responsible for the BfV and monitoring radical activities.
Last month, an intelligence assessment clarified that the AfD constituted no threat to freedom and the democratic order.
cw/jil (AFP, dpa, Reuters)