Thursday 22 March 2018

Anger over anti-Muslim tweet by German nationalist

Beatrix von Storch of the nationalist and anti-Islam Alternative for Germany party (dpa/AP)
Beatrix von Storch of the nationalist and anti-Islam Alternative for Germany party (dpa/AP)
Beatrix von Storch at a party convention of the Alternative for Germany party (AP)

A prominent legislator with the nationalist Alternative for Germany party has run into trouble with police and Twitter over her response to a Cologne police tweet offering new year greetings in Arabic.

Beatrix von Storch tweeted her objections to a police tweet issued in Arabic, alongside other foreign languages.

She wrote: "Do they think they will calm the barbaric, Muslim, group-raping hordes of men this way?"

Her Twitter account was blocked for several hours over a suspected breach of rules on hate speech.

Police said on Tuesday that they had filed a criminal complaint to prosecutors over suspected incitement.

Celebrations in Cologne were overshadowed two years ago when hundreds of women complained of being groped and robbed, mostly by groups of migrants.

Ms von Storch is one of 92 legislators for AfD in the national parliament and her immunity from prosecution would have to be lifted for any investigation to be launched.

The argument over her tweet - and a similar post on Facebook that she said was blocked in Germany - coincided with the first day of a law aimed at cracking down on hate speech on social networks.

A requirement has now taken effect for "clearly criminal" posts to be deleted or blocked within 24 hours.

AfD leader Alexander Gauland portrayed the incident as a consequence of the new law, which his party has strongly opposed, declaring that it is "already showing its freedom-curbing effect on the first day of the new year".

He called on social media users to post the deleted posts.


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