Anti-Islam Rightists Target German Youth
Seeking a bigger support among German youth, a rightist group is using Facebook, YouTube and other social media websites to spread its racist, anti-Islam message.
“They are clearly racist,” Alexander Häusler, an expert on right-wing extremism at University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf, told Deutsche Welle.
“They are making a major affront on Germany’s multicultural society, composed of immigrants,” he said.
“They mostly criticize the alleged Islamization of Germany.”
Häusler was talking about a German right-wing movement, die Identitäre Bewegung (The Identity Movement), which has been gaining attention through its so-called “fun campaigns” recently.
Putting identity, or the alleged German identity, as its fixed point, the movement focuses on spreading its message mostly on the Net, via Facebook and YouTube.
“We are the identity-generation,” the site states, while declaring itself a protector against the threat of Islam.
“100 percent identity – 0 percent racism,” its website states, while calling for “the protection of the [its] continent from infiltration by foreigners, mass immigration and Islamization.”
These posts on the Identity Movement’s homepage, however, revealed a racist agenda.
“Here, they spread scenarios of a racial apocalypse,’” Häusler said.
“The message is, ‘We are the last generation which can avert the risk of the so-called German identity dieing out.”
The movement’s Facebook page has more than 4,000 fans.
Last November, a new study has revealed the right-wing extremism is notably rising in Germany, particularly in the east of the European country.
The study, “The Changing Society: Right-wing Views in Germany 2012”, found that the number of Germans identifying themselves has grown.
The report indicated that 9 percent of Germans have adopted extreme right-wing beliefs, up from 8.2 percent two years ago.
Trying to win public support, the Identity Movement has been portraying itself as modern and funny, boasting that it names social grievances publicly.
“It is a very professional presence, which is very attractive and has an unbelievable number of pop culture references that can be understood by younger people,” Johannes Baldauf of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, said.
Yet, the movement’s racist views appeared in its symbol, manifesto and online posts.
In its ideology, it reaches deep into the barrel of the new right – the known concept is called “ethnopluralism.”
“They are calling for every race, or let’s say ethnic group, to keep to itself. There especially shouldn’t be any mixing,” Baldauf explained.
The Identity Movement’s manifesto, which is also in its elaborately made video, confirms this.
“We are the generation of the ethnic violations, [the generation] of the total failure of coexistence and of the forced mixing of the races,” the video states.
Maintaining a fascist aesthetic in its symbolism, the group’s logo also shows the Greek letter lambda on a yellow background, like one from the 300 Spartan soldiers who wanted to stop the Persians at Thermopylae in the Hollywood film “300.”
The lambda symbol appears again and again on the homepage, the Facebook page and in the web videos.
The movement is trying “to anchor [itself] on the Internet,” Häusler explained.
A text on its site refers to the “ghetto subculture of migrant youth that is affected by violence, hate, primitivity, criminality and Islam.”
The aim of all this is to “spread racism more effectively,” subliminally, said Häusler.
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.
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.”