Associations complain of declining inhibition threshold for hate mails

The choice of words is drastic, the death threat concrete, the German bad. "Hi Mazyek you freeloader belongs to you head shot we make preparations to liquidate you…", it says in the letter to the
Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek.

The letter is present to our editorship. Mayzek shares it because he wants to show how uninhibited the authors of hate mail would now act. How the tone is becoming more radical and threatening. The handwritten letter is signed with three people on gallows, including the names of Central Council head Mazyek, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

More and more hate with clear name – and real address

Not only Muslims, but also Jews in Germany see the falling inhibition thresholds. And: the central councils of Jews and Muslims in Germany are facing more and more insults or threats in which the authors of the Hate mail with clear names and write partially correct address. "We experience today that the perpetrators have less and less inhibitions. Many write their hatred under their real names," Mazyek told our editorial staff.

In most cases, the incitement under clear names is "legally still covered". Mazyek added: "But we also have the impression that these people are giving us a short Hate mail write once again: Then it's anonymous death threats."

The declining inhibition thresholds among authors of hate mail was also confirmed by the Executive director of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Daniel Botmann: "It is becoming apparent that the perpetrators are increasingly writing to us with their real name and address – and no longer anonymously. This is a new quality of incitement," said Botmann.

Federal government wants to respond with a new law: "inciting insult"

"Unfortunately, we experience on a daily basis that right-wing extremists, conspiracy mystics or Israel haters send us letters and increasingly also emails with their agitation."Increasingly, the Central Council would also receive hate mail against Jews in connection with the Corona pandemic, Botmann added to our editorial staff.

The German government wants to target the authors of inflammatory letters and hate mail more closely. With a new criminal offense: the "inflammatory insult". The government wants to close a gap in criminal prosecution, because often hate mail cannot be legally prosecuted because it does not meet the requirements of the law Criminal offense of incitement to hatred still constitute an insulting offense.

Because: For the incitement of the people it needs a Public, which is not given in the case of letters and mails to associations such as the Central Councils. And for an insult to be committed, a person would have to be attacked in a very concrete way – but the authors often incite against entire groups, such as Muslims or Jews in Germany.

Dispute in the government: should Muslims also be better protected?

The Anti-Semitism Commissioner of the Federal Government, Felix Klein, Had argued strongly for the introduction of this criminal offense. "This gap in punishability must be closed so that democracy remains defensible against radicals," he told our editorial staff. This can be achieved, for example, by having the law punish anyone who sends unsolicited hate mail to another person from a group such as Jews in Germany.

But in the Federal government there is apparently a dispute about which groups should be better protected in the future – and whether Muslims belong to them. According to the legal expert of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Thorsten Frei, it "makes sense to ensure that especially anti-Semitic statements can be made more punishable here".

Because if extremists would direct hate comments by letter or email for example to institutions of Jewish life, it often does not come to a conviction. Due to German history, there is a special responsibility, especially victims of the NS persecution such as Jews or homosexuals from incitement to hatred.

"In the fight against misanthropy, there must be no hierarchies"

For the SPD, this is unacceptable. "It must not be that individual groups remain unprotected under criminal law despite the new law," the Legal expert of the SPD in the Bundestag, Johannes Fechner, our editorial office. "In the Hanau attack in particular, where Muslims were killed."

Muslims are "repeatedly affected by hatred and attacks in Germany," Fechner says. The SPD wants the scope of protection of "inflammatory insults" to be so broad that "all population groups" are covered.

Aiman Mazyek The Central Council of Muslims in Germany emphasizes in an interview with our editors that "for us as Germans" the fight against anti-Semitism has a "singular significance". However, everyday life with regard to hate mail and inflammatory letters shows that "the Jew-hater often also stirs up hatred against Sinti and Roma and also Muslims at the same time".

Mazyek stressed: "In the fight against misanthropy, there must be no hierarchies."The planned law on "inflammatory insults" should not exclude individual groups, "then the perpetrators can take advantage of this and continue to incite against Muslims," Mazyek said.

Further links:

  • Right-wing terrorism – five lessons from the attack in Hanau
  • Integration commissioner calls for: More action against right-wing violence

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