Far-right AfD request reveals rise in anti-Christian crime in Germany

Berlin, May 19 (IANS/DPA): The number of offences classified by the police as "anti-Christian" is increasing, the German government said in response to questions from Petr Bystron, a politician from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Bystron has been more well-known not for his queries to the government but because he is under investigation on suspicion of bribery and money laundering in connection with possible Russian propaganda activities.

The Bundestag, or lower house of parliament, has waived his immunity and his offices and private spaces were searched on Thursday. Bystron denies the charges. He is the second candidate on the AfD's ticket for the European elections on June 9.

The government information, which came after Bystron submitted written questions to the Bundestag's Foreign Affairs Committee, showed that 135 anti-Christian offences nationwide were included in the police statistics on politically motivated crime in 2022.

According to preliminary figures, 277 such cases were recorded in 2023, including 55 incidents involving damage to property.

There is no overall explanation for the rise, an Interior Ministry spokesman told dpa.

The rise in cases could be partly explained by multiple sharing or publication of criminally relevant posts online. Such posts had become known to the Federal Criminal Police Office's Central Reporting Centre for Criminal Content on the Internet.

Another explanation is "the tense global political situation, especially in the context of the Middle East conflict as a result of the attacks by the terrorist organisation Hamas against the state of Israel."

Given that situation, there had been a large number of threats of attack, which had mainly been sent by email.

The spokesman explained: "Some of these threatening emails were sent to Christian institutions or contained statements directed against the Christian religion or people of the Christian faith," the spokesman explained.



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Title: Far-right AfD request reveals rise in anti-Christian crime in Germany

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