A man described by authorities as a “right-wing terrorist” attacked two shisha bars in the city of Hanau, Germany, killing nine people and injuring several others. After a short manhunt, police found the man in his apartment, dead of a gunshot wound. He had apparently murdered his 72-year-old mother before turning the gun on himself.
His name has not yet been released and police have identified him only as 43-year-old Tobias R. He apparently had a lot of far-right, anti-immigrant propaganda in his apartment and on his social media sites.
There are five people with what are being described as “life-threatening injuries.” Shisha, or hookah bars, are popular with the immigrant community and some younger Germans.
German federal prosecutors are investigating the shooting as a terrorist attack. Meanwhile, in a strange and jarring “I told you so” statement, the Islamic Association made it clear they were the victims.
“Before this right-wing terror we had been warning and demanding for weeks and months to take a clear stand against right-wing agitation and Islamophobia,” its statement said. “We had also warned that terror threatens us all — Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Our warnings were ignored. The terror has struck. It is now the time to stand together.”
They are almost congratulating themselves for being “right.” Very strange at a time of mourning for the rest of the German people.
Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the “perpetrators” — there was one lone attacker, say police.
“It is still too early for a final evaluation. Everything is being done to clear up the background of these horrible murders to the last detail. But at present there is much evidence that the perpetrator acted out of right-wing extremist, racist motives — out of hatred against people of other origins, other beliefs or other outward appearances.
“Racism is a poison, hatred is a poison,” Merkel said. “I think now especially of the families and friends of the murdered. None of us can measure the suffering that the perpetrators brought upon them. I mourn with them and express my deepest sympathy.”
There is a real danger now of a crackdown on right-wing political groups, including the Alliance for Germany Party, whose recent success has threatened the hold on power of Merkel’s governing coalition. For its part, the AfD vigorously condemned the murders.
“We believe that it is in the interests of the relatives of the victims if the crime and its background are clarified quickly,” it added in a statement. “The AfD group has full confidence in the investigative authorities that they will solve the crime quickly and completely.”
During a recent election in the German state of Thuringia, the AfD engineered a coup of sorts by working with Merkel’s CDU centrist party to elect a state premiere, a member of the minor Free Democrats party. This so terrified authorities in Berlin they forced the Free Democrat premiere to resign and to hold another election.
The AfD is not the problem. The party does not encourage “hate” or violence, does not promote anti-Islamic views or antisemitism. But they are likely to continue to be the scapegoat for government policies that breed dissatisfaction in the refugee community and resentment among German citizens.
What ails Germany is not politics. It’s bad government.