The group was reportedly formed last September, and has alleged ties to the far-right extremist group Soldiers of Odin, based in Finland.
Twelve men have been arrested in Germany for being part of a far-right terrorist group, with concrete plans on attacking Muslims during prayers at mosques. A government spokesperson claimed the far-right “terror cell” were planning “shocking” mass attacks on numerous different mosques across Germany, in the latest manifestation of the rise of the far-right in the country.
Calling their group the Der harte Kern, which in German means “The Hard Core”, prosecutors stated that the men wanted to create circumstances similar to “civil war” by planning “attacks against politicians, asylum-seekers and Muslims”. The twelve men in connection to the far-right terror cell were arrested in a series of raids on Friday, and have been ordered by Germany’s Federal Court of Justice to remain behind bars as the investigation continues.
Out of the twelve men, four have been suspected of forming the terrorist organization, while the remaining eight are allegedly guilty of pledging support and helping fund and supply the group with finances and weapons. Police have reportedly found weapons stored in 13 different residences across six German states, which included scatter rifles and the so-called slam guns.
In liberal Germany, concerned citizenry is simply code for mainstream Islamophobia
The group was reportedly formed last September, and has alleged ties to the far-right extremist group Soldiers of Odin, based in Finland. With the rise in far-right extremism on a dangerous path of populism in the country, terrorist groups like this showcases the farce of multi-culturalism that Germany often boasts of.
The Secretary General of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany Abdassamad El Yazidi stated:
[German Muslims] are feeling highly insecure…abandoned…frightened. Such horror stories are not commented on in society, [with] no clear, strong expression of solidarity.”
In response to these arrests, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert stated that Germany remains committed to preserving the right to the freedom of religion: “It is the task of the state, and of course of this government, to protect the free practice of religion in this country, no matter what religion it is”.
Far-right extremism and the rise of neo-Nazism has seen victims from all sides, as seen in the case of the murder of senior regional official Walter Lübcke, who was shot and killed by a neo-Nazi only last June. In these latest arrests of far-right extremists planning the mass attack on Muslims, it remains unclear how extensive their outreach was, or whether there remains sub-groups beneath them with supporters. Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia remain deeply tied to the strength of far-right extremist groups, and it becomes a duty on both community members as well as politicians to showcase harsh sentences for those threatening violence and hate-attacks.