BONN (May. 10)
The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe has ruled that the slogan “Juden Raus” (Jews Out) consitutes an incitement to racial discrimination that is punishable by law but the slogan “Turks Out” is not necessarily illegal. Both exhortations are favorites of neo-Nazi agitators.
The decision by the court, the Bundesgerichtshof, was taken in the case of a 30-year-old neo-Nazi who had appealed against his 26-month prison sentence by a lower court for various offenses including doubing walls with both of the slogans. The appeal succeeded when a higher court returned the case to the lower one for reconsideration.
The case was sent to the Karlsruhe court, the highest in the Federal Republic, which rules on constitutional issues. But it is the differentiation between incitement against Jews and incitement against Turks rather than the case itself that has drawn most attention. The West German media, including the State-owned television, has put sharp questions to the Karlsruhe judges, implying that they applied a double standard.
There are more than two million Turkish nationals living in West Germany, including several hundred thousand “guest workers” and their families. The Jewish population is about 30,000.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO SLOGANS
The Constitutional Court stated that the persecution of Jews by the Nazis make it obvious that the slogan “Jews Out,” accompanied by swastika daubings, is a clear call to violence and terrorist measures. This is not necessarily so with respect to “Turks Out”, the court said, adding, however, that the slogan clearly implies that Turks, as foreigners, are being called on to leave the country.
But according to the court, there are no generally known incidents which would indicate beyond any doubt that the call is for violence and terror to oust aliens from the country. Nevertheless, it is acknowledged that problems involving the integration of the Turkish community in various parts of West Germany are more acute than those related to the tiny Jewish population.
A spokesman for the Karlsruhe court sought to minimize the impact of the ruling. He insisted to reporters that the court treated all manifestations of hatred against aliens as a grave offense.