German police have arrested a suspected right-wing extremist who was planning an attack on a mosque that would attract global media notoriety, much like last year’s deadly shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Christchurch style attack was scheduled to take place along the pattern of the mass shooting carried out by gunman Brenton Tarrant in Christchurch in March 2019.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) June 8, 2020
The 21-year-old man from Hildesheim, a town in northern Germany, was arrested on Saturday, the prosecutor’s office said. The law enforcers made their move against the wannabe terrorist after he revealed his plot “in an anonymous internet chat.”
Attack on Muslims in Germany revealed via anonymous chat
The suspect had “for some time been considering the idea of committing an attack in which he wanted to kill numerous people in order to attract worldwide media attention,” the prosecutor said.
The man was aiming to carry out an atrocity similar to that perpetrated in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019. In that attack, a gunman shot 51 people dead after targeting two mosques.
“His aim was to kill Muslims,” the prosecutors pointed out.
Attack on Muslims in Germany to have replicated Christchurch
Unspecified weapons allegedly intended to be used in the attack, as well as digital files of right-wing extremist content, were discovered at the home of the suspect. He now faces charges of threatening to commit criminal offences and financing terrorism through the purchase of arms.
A 21-year-old man has been detained in Germany on suspicion of planning to kill Muslims in an attack inspired by New Zealand's Christchurch mosque shootings.https://t.co/nmGNt7zWhM
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) June 9, 2020
National media reported that Hildesheim District Court initially rejected the application for the arrest warrant and the man was detained only after the General Prosecutor’s Office directed the judge in the nearby town of Luneburg to do so.
Germany has been rocked by several extreme right-wing attacks over the past year, and there has also been a grim toll of stabbings and rammings by radicalized Muslims.
In February, a far-right gunman opened fire on customers at a shisha bar in Hanau, near Frankfurt, killing nine. In October, two people died when a synagogue in Halle, outside Leipzig, was targeted, and a right-wing sympathizer was charged with the murder of pro-immigration politician Walter Lubcke last summer.
Islamophobia in Germany: incidents and background
Islamophobia has slowly been creeping into the fabric of German society. Observers say it stems from refugees from war-torn Muslim countries making their way to and seeking asylum in Germany.
Some quarters in Germany bash the government for allowing refugees and asylum seekers safe space in Germany, and claim that the public money diverted to care for these refugees is better spent on the upkeep and maintenance of German people and property.
These fears have been exacerbated by the rise of populist ultra-right wing Parties which use fears of terrorism and refugee swamping to get people on to the streets against refugees, who are mostly Muslims from underprivileged areas.
On the 1st of January 2019 in Essen and Bottrop, a car attack happened where a 50-year-old attacker tried to hit a person with his car in Bottrop, but the man was able to avoid the vehicle. Minutes later, the man drove his car into a crowd of people at the Berliner Platz in Bottrop, injuring two men from Syria and Afghanistan, along with a woman and a child.
On the 31 May 2019 in Bremen, A Muslim teenager was insulted with islamophobic slurs in a tram and stabbed with a knife in the neck.
On the 18th of May 2020, two unidentified people placed a pig’s head Saturday night on the door of the Fatih Mosque of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) in the southern Germany city of Vaihingen, local media reported.
The incident was recorded by the surveillance cameras at the mosque. In the footage, the perpetrators are seen driving a company van from a neighboring city. After they attached the pig’s head to the main entrance of the mosque, they took photos of their act. The unidentified individuals are said to be between 25 and 30 years old.
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk