Shooting in Germany Raises Alarm on Far-Right Extremism

Kyle Santagato, Staff Writer

This past Wednesday, Fed. 19 in Hanau, Germany, a shooting took place starting at the Midnight Shisha bar. The shooter allegedly shot about a dozen times and then drove to a second bar, the Arena Bar & Cafe, located about a mile and a half away, and opened fire yet again.
According to BBC, a total of nine people died and five others were taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The shooter was later found in his home having committed suicide along with killing his mother only a few hours after the secound shooting. The shooter was later identified by the media and police as Tobias Rathjen, a 42 year old man, who had “right-wing extremists” ideas. Germany is one of the most strict countries in terms of gun laws and has only been increasing due to several recent shootings taking place.
Over the past year, Germany has been experiencing a rise in this type of extremist movement, especially on the Eastern side of the country. According to Frank Gardener, a security correspondent from BBC, Their (Eastern Germany’s) unemployment has been higher than the rest of Germany and an unrest due to the immigration of several refugees from bordering Middle Eastern countries has caused this rise in extremist action.
This is not the first extremist attack that has occurred in Germany over the past year; another notable attack happened last October in Halle, in which a shooter killed two and attempted to storm a synagogue. That event was broadcast live by the shooter as he attempted to enter the synagogue, and that shooter later admitted to having a far-right and Anti-Semitic motive for carrying out the attack.
The reactions to this rise in extremism has shocked the nation, as Claus Kaminsky, Mayor of Hanau, told BBC, “The city had seen centuries of peaceful coexistence between different faiths and cultures.” As a result, state leaders have promised to work to show that the targets of these attacks have no need to be afraid and that they are accepted and belong with Germany, but that promise will be tested as time goes on.
However, many minority groups and leaders are outraged not only by these attacks in general, being that they seem to be the targets of them, but also to the response, believing that not enough is being done. According to “The Washington Post” Leyla Acar, the co-chairwoman of Kon-Med, which is an association for Kurds in Germany said in a statement, “We’re very sad about what happened, but also very angry…What are the politicians doing? They always say they are against racism, right-wing ­extremism, but what do they do,” later bring up that five out of the nine victims were kurdish.
This led to several anti-extremist demonstrations, which has sparked a discussion as to whether or not minorities are being protected enough, and about the mentality that Germany’s people have towards minorities. According to “The Washington Post” Muslim community leader Khurrem Akhtar said,“There’s an us-versus-them mindset that can be felt sometimes.” While the debates over these concerns continue, Germany is still reflecting on these attacks, and what impact they may truly have on the nation.