The spot in a small German town where a 9-year-old Syrian boy died in a traffic accident at the end of June has become the scene of a neo-Nazi hate crime.
In the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, swastikas were twice daubed at the site and twice removed by the local authorities.
"This type of crime could have only come from the confused mind of a right-wing extremist who isn't capable of telling the difference between right and wrong," said Schönberg town Mayor Lutz Götze, as reported by Local Germany.
The Syrian family who was shaken by the tragedy of losing their son has also faced insult and hate crime against them. The family moved to Germany from the Syrian city of Idlib in 2015, according to Deutsche Welle.
On June 20, the Syrian boy fell underneath a moving tractor after losing control of his bicycle. He lost his life after struggling to survive in a hospital for several days. Two weeks later, on July 8, a large swastika appeared at the spot. It was removed by the local authorities, however, a new swastika was found at the same spot on July 28, this time with "1:0" written next to it. With increasing arson attacks on refugee shelters, assaults, swastikas sprayed on walls, Germany has been rocked by a wave of neo-Nazi hate crime campaigns against the growing number of refugees since 2015.
While vast numbers of Germans have volunteered to help refugees, there has also been a rise in anti-foreigner sentiment. As a result, support for Germany's far-right movement has grown by nearly 80 percent to 18,000 members over the past two years, larger than earlier estimated.
Starting as a Eurosceptic party just five years ago, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party got a boost in 2015 after Chancellor Angela Merkel announced an open-door policy to refugees fleeing places like Syria and Afghanistan.
The surge in foreigners stoked public concerns, which helped the AfD enter the national parliament last year as the main opposition party as many of the millions who entered Germany and Europe did so illegally. The party's success has also prompted pushback from various groups under the umbrella organization "Stop the Hate."
Germany sees regular protests by neo-Nazi groups, but the country has strict laws governing the glorification of the country's Nazi past. However, the danger of far-right terrorism grows in the country. German far-right groups have drawn up several "enemy lists" containing names and addresses of more than 25,000 people, a parliamentary inquiry revealed Monday. The Interior Ministry said the lists were found in various police investigations and operations against far-right groups in the last seven years. The neo-Nazi group National Socialist Underground (NSU) gathered addresses and telephone numbers of targeted people until it was detected in 2011, the ministry said in its written reply to the parliamentary question. A far-right terror network founded by 28-year-old German lieutenant Franco A. also prepared several lists on potential targets, which included 32 names.
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