What has happened in Chemnitz, Germany over the past few days displays the extent of racism and xenophobia in Europe. Today, such incidents are no longer insignificant cases caused by a few skinheads or neo-Nazi vagrants. Racism has unfortunately evolved into a serious threat as shown in the latest case in Chemnitz, during which police units across Germany were sent for help.
About a week ago, a 35-year-old German citizen was stabbed to death. Two suspects, one Iraqi and one Syrian citizen, were detained while the investigation is ongoing. This incident has been a golden opportunity for racists as they have started terrorizing neighborhoods by using the stabbed German citizen Daniel H. as a pretext. The State of Saxony and the city of Chemnitz were among the strongholds of East Germany. In recent years, the state has been one of the leading places witnessing xenophobia. The racist and xenophobic Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), which is now known across the world and a disgrace to every German democrat, also enjoys a great deal of support in this state.
PEGIDA and other racist and xenophobic groups masterfully used the small number of refugees in Saxony, and the fact that the conditions in Saxony are worse than the Western states of Germany, as propaganda tools.
Last week, Chemnitz bore witness to 11,000 demonstrators, 2,000 police officers, 18 injured and 37 criminal complaints. Some 8,000 out of the 11,000 demonstrators were on the streets to support a number of racist groups such as PEGIDA, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Pro Chemnitz, while the remaining 3,000 organized a counter-protest against these enemies of democracy.
Racist, xenophobic and neo-Nazi groups have been terrorizing Chemnitz for days. A kebab shop owned by a Syrian, who took refuge in Germany after his children were killed by Bashar Assad's forces in Syria, was targeted by his neighbors who threw bottles at the shop. The Syrian man was grateful that he was not subjected to worse, since there are many others experiencing cases much worse than that. This weekend, a neo-Nazi group wearing masks battered a person of Afghan descent, who barely escaped with his
life. All the foreigners in Chemnitz are currently living in fear. The Germans who value democracy are also worried in the face of this grim picture.
PEGIDA and the AfD's activities climbed to such threatening levels that they are currently posing a direct threat to peace and security in Germany. Racist ideas reached the large masses as a result of their activities and propaganda. There are people openly making the Nazi salute in the streets of Chemnitz now.
PEGIDA and AfD are not only against foreigners and refugees, but against Europe, the Chancellor Angela Merkel and the government, as the banners and flags that are unusual for German democracy are exposed in their events. In fact, PEGIDA, AfD and such groups pose an immediate threat to democracy.
The saddest part is, this is not only Germany's problem. Today, racism and xenophobia threaten the entire continent of Europe and the EU and has reached alarming levels.
Those who are rightfully worried about Daesh terror should also be worried about growing racism across Europe. This mindset has caused a great of catastrophe in Europe in recent history. Racist groups today are aspiring to resuscitate the very same mindset once represented by Hitler and Mussolini. This new wave of racism, rapidly coming into prominence, and whose defenders have already declared that they will be just like their role models once they come to power, is a major threat to European democracies and humanity.
They are not only against Muslims, refugees or Turks, but against all the people who do not think like them. In other words, they are hostile to anyone who values democracy and human rights. Therefore, as the majority that values democracy and human rights, we must take a common stance as soon as possible.
All the democrats in Germany siding with the German Constitution that was penned by drawing lessons from history, must take a stance against the racist and xenophobic parties and groups no matter whether they are Christian, Muslim, Jewish or atheist. We must not allow the spread of cases like the recent one in Chemnitz across Germany and Europe.
If we don't want to see bloodshed in Europe reminiscent of the terms of Hitler, Mussolini or Franco, we have to protect democ
racy as fellow Europeans. The EU countries do especially bear a significant responsibility to that end. The cooperation of Turkey in the fight against racism across Europe is crucial. This fight can only succeed by incorporating Turkey in the EU.
With a mindset arguing that the EU is a league of Christians, the fight against racism cannot succeed in Europe. It is an undeniable fact that Christians and Muslims are required to form an alliance and cooperate in the fight against the enemies of democracy.
In that sense, the Chemnitz case must be a warning for all of Europe.
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