Josef Schuster warns of rise in xenophobic violence targeting religious minorities in Germany
By Ayhan Simsek
A prominent German Jewish leader on Friday expressed alarm over growing intolerance and violence against religious minorities, immigrants and asylum seekers in the country.
“It’s a scandal that more and more mosques are vandalized by hate slogans or attacked on a massive scale,” said Josef Schuster, head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews.
He made the remarks at a ceremony held in a Berlin synagogue, marking the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, a wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms in 1938.
Schuster expressed concern over the rise in xenophobic attacks in recent years, which often targeted Jews, Muslims, immigrants and refugees.
“Such things happening in Germany in 2018 are a shame for our country,” he said.
Schuster accused the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) for inciting hatred against asylum seekers and Muslims.
“They are the spiritual arsonists,” he said.
Germany has witnessed growing Islamophobia and hatred of migrants in recent years triggered by a propaganda from far-right and populist parties, which have exploited fears over the refugee crisis and terrorism.
Some 950 Muslims and Muslim institutions were attacked in 2017, according to the official figures.
At least 33 Muslims were injured in these attacks, which included assaults against Muslim women wearing headscarves and attacks against mosques and other Muslim institutions.