Merkel says political hate speech is 'playing with fire'

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - Far-right politicians in Germany who engage in xenophobic rhetoric are not just testing free-speech limits but are inciting violence, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday. Speaking at a memorial for the 25th anniversary of an arson attack that killed five Turkish girls and women and injured 14 in the western city of Solingen, Merkel said Germany was still suffering from 'right-wing extremism' more than seven decades after the defeat of Nazism.

Reuters May 30, 2018 01:05:46 IST
Merkel says political hate speech is 'playing with fire'

Merkel says political hate speech is playing with fire

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - Far-right politicians in Germany who engage in xenophobic rhetoric are not just testing free-speech limits but are inciting violence, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a memorial for the 25th anniversary of an arson attack that killed five Turkish girls and women and injured 14 in the western city of Solingen, Merkel said Germany was still suffering from "right-wing extremism" more than seven decades after the defeat of Nazism.

"Too often, the lines of freedom of speech are very deliberately being tested, and taboos are carelessly being breached and used as a political instrument," Merkel said at the event attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

"It's not banter, rather it's playing with fire. Because whoever sows violence with words, risks reaping violence."

Her words appeared to be aimed at, among others, the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), which entered parliament for the first time in an election last year amid voter concerns about a huge influx of migrants and refugees.

Some AfD politicians have been accused of racism by German lawmakers, and Turks in Germany said they would bring criminal charges against the AfD's Andre Poggenburg after he called Turks "camel drivers."

Hours before Merkel spoke, AfD lawmaker Beatrix von Storch drew criticism after she appeared to ridicule the deceased father of a Palestinian-German politician.

Von Storch had suggested in a tweet that Sawasan Chebli's father would have had "serious financial problems" if Germany copied Austria in cutting welfare to people not fluent in German.

"If your intention was to hurt me then you have succeeded," Chebli replied to von Storch on Twitter. "My father died recently. He was a good man. My God forgive you. He wouldn't have wanted me to offend you."

The tweet was later deleted. Von Storch's spokeswoman said the lawmaker had removed the tweet herself, without giving further details.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Joseph Nasr and Robin Pomeroy)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones
Business

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones

By Stephen Nellis (Reuters) -Apple Inc on Monday said it will offer the ability to store state-issued identification cards digitally on iPhones and that it is working with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to accept the digital IDs at airports, one of several updates to the software that runs on its devices. It also showed updates to its FaceTime video chat app, adding the ability to schedule calls with multiple attendees and making the software compatible with Android and Windows devices.

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions
Business

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions

LONDON (Reuters) - The bosses of all airlines flying passenger services between Britain and the United States called on Monday for the countries' governments to relax COVID-19 restrictions to reopen travel routes between the two countries. After more than a year of restrictions, the CEOs of American Airlines, IAG unit British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp said high vaccination rates in both countries meant travel could restart safely. The push for reopening trans-Atlantic routes on Monday comes ahead of meetings between U.S.

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options
Business

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's patience towards Britain over Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland is wearing thin and the bloc will consider its options should Britain continue its "confrontational path", an EU official said on Monday.