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Far-right Extremism on Rise in Germany

Right-wing extremism is notably rising in Germany, particularly in the east of the European country, a new study has revealed, calling on the government to take action against rightists.

"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.”

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The study, “The Changing Society: Right-wing Views in Germany 2012”, found that the number of Germans identifying themselves 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.

Western German states showed a slight decrease from 7.6 percent to 7.3 percent overall in 2010.

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, the study found.

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

Action Needed

The authors of the study have called on the German government to take action against far-right extremism.

"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 far-right extremism, this time their conclusion is "more cautious," they add.

The authors 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 August 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 OnIslam.net

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