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Germany shooting a sign that racist hate is no longer taboo

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Rebecca Valli

Nine people were killed in the German city of Hanau after a gunman opened fire in a shisha bar. The attacker, whom authorities say had a “right-wing extremist background,” is thought to have targeted areas frequented by immigrants.


Mabel Berezin

Mabel Berezin

Professor of Sociology at Cornell University

Mabel Berezin, professor of sociology at Cornell University, is an expert on far-right politics and the history and development of populism and fascism in Europe. Berezin is author of “Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times: Cultures, Security, and Populism in a New Europe” and “Europe Without Borders.”

 

Berezin says:

“The murder of nine persons in a bar favored by Muslim migrants is another iteration of the sea change that is occurring in German political culture where taboo breaking has become a norm. 

“After World War II, Nazism and right-wing culture of any sort was banned in Germany. The taboo against the extreme right began to break down with the emergence of the far-right party the Alternative for Germany (AFD) in 2015. The AFD hardly existed as a political party. But three weeks ago Germany’s center right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) allied with it in local elections in Thuringia to oust a center left wing premier.

“The political legitimation of right-wing parties such as AFD has left an open space for unallied freelance right-wing extremists to carry out hate attacks against outgroups without the restraints of political party affiliation. Hate is increasingly no longer taboo in Germany and we can expect more violence.”


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