Amid the growing threat of far-right extremism, a pregnant Muslim woman wearing a headscarf was attacked by an unidentified man in the German capital Berlin, reports said yesterday. The incident reportedly took place near Neukölln train station, where a man walking his dog started insulting two women for wearing headscarves. The perpetrator reportedly punched the pregnant woman's abdomen and punched the other woman in the face then fled the scene, reports said. The pregnant woman was hospitalized following the attack and police in Berlin have launched an investigation.
Germany, a country of over 81 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe, after France. In recent years, increasingly hostile attitudes toward immigrants and the Muslim community have been reported. The number of attacks on Muslims and Muslim institutions in Germany has been around 570 in 2018, lower than in 2017. However, the number of people who were injured in anti-Muslim attacks has increased, compared to 2017, according to German media. From January to September, authorities counted 578 attacks on Muslims, mosques and other institutions in Germany. The figure is well below the approximately 780 Islamophobic offenses committed in the first nine months of 2017. According to German regional newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, 40 people were injured in attacks in 2018. This marks a significant increase compared to 2017, when 27 were reported in the same period and a total of 32 injured in the year as a whole.
In another xenophobic incident in Hamburg, a 31-year-old foreigner was verbally attacked and then beaten and kicked by three Germans, the local police said on Tuesday, as reported by the Die Welt daily newspaper.
Around 2,000 attacks were reported last year in Germany, targeting refugees and their dormitories. In response to a question by the Left Party, the German interior ministry reported that the criminal acts recorded ranged from insults, damage to property and physically assaulting people, according to a report by Deutsche Welle. The report also revealed that a significant number of crimes were committed by those with extreme-right views.
Considering the racially motivated string of attacks on migrants, the country has been showing increasingly hostile attitudes toward immigrants, the Muslim community and other minorities such as the Roma, according to a study published last November. Based on a report by the Leipzig-based Competence Center for Right-Wing Extremism and Democracy Research, more than one-in-three Germans think foreigners come only to exploit the welfare state.
According to a survey published yesterday, migration was high on the list of popular concerns over the next two decades. In answer to a question about the biggest challenge facing Germany, 27 percent responded, "Migration, refugees and asylum," followed by "social justice" at 22 percent. The survey also found that 86 percent worried that right-wing extremism and racist violence was on the rise as a result of migration. The poll was conducted at the end of last year by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which is linked to the Social Democratic Party (SPD).