Germany: More than a dozen mosques attacked in 2023

Central Mosque in Köln-Ehrenfeld. Pic: Michael von Aichberger /

Police in Germany recorded more than 250 Islamophobic hate crimes in the first half of 2023, according to figures released this week by the country’s parliament.

More than a dozen mosques were attacked between January and June, and dozens of Muslims were physically assaulted or harassed in public places. At least 17 people were injured in the attacks.

While criminal investigations were opened against several suspects, no arrests have been made so far, according to officials from Germany’s Interior Ministry.

The figures indicate that most of the alleged crimes were committed in eastern German states, the traditional stronghold of far-right parties, but scores of Islamophobic hate crimes were also registered in the capital Berlin, and in the western cities of Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich.

Third of Germans share right-wing views

A new study, also published this week, revealed that nearly a third of Germans hold populist right-wing views. A research team from the University of Hohenheim interviewed more than 4,000 Germans from a group reflecting the demographic composition of the country.

31% of respondents said they feared that Germany was being “infiltrated by Islam”, while 18% said they partly agreed with the statement. A quarter of those surveyed said they believed Germany was controlled by “secret powers”, while 16% said the country was “more like a dictatorship than a democracy.”

“7% of Germans have a very strong attachment to right-wing populism, and 11% of them have a strong attachment,” said Professor Frank Brettschneider, who led the study.

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“Overall, nearly one-third of Germans have a right-wing populist worldview in the broader sense,” he added.

Growing threat

Germany has seen a steady rise in racism and xenophobia since 2017. Hate crimes rose by 10% in 2022, according to Germany’s Interior Ministry, with three out of four motivated by far-right ideology. Violent crimes against refugees rose by 22% the same year, while antisemetic crimes fell by 12.75% over the same period, according to the government figures.

43-year old Tobias Rathjen murdered nine people at two shisha lounges. Pic: Juergen Nowak /

A 2020 attack on two shisha lounges in the German town Hanau left nine people dead, with most of the victims from minority backgrounds. The German gunman, who also shot dead his mother before shooting himself, left behind a manifesto in which he expressed extreme hatred for foreigners.

A country of over 84 million people, Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. It is home to nearly five million Muslims.


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