Internet extremism growing in Germany


BERLIN (JTA) — Right-wing extremism on the Internet is increasing in Germany, including hateful material in disguise, a watchdog group said.

The Jugendschutz organization released its annual report on youth protection, which was  compiled together with the Central Agency for Political Education and Online Advisors Against Right-Wing Extremism.

Stefan Glaser, a lead researcher for Jugendschutz told Die Welt newspaper that, for example, songs from a CD with radically anti-Semitic lyrics are among the YouTube offerings that may attract the unsuspecting. Glaser described the CD marketed online as "Merkel’s Bedtime Stories for Children aged 3-8," and bearing the image of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which actually contains 21 songs with lyrics that deny the Holocaust or call for the murder of blacks and Jews. Some of the songs are on YouTube.

According to the study, the number of right-wing extremist contributions from Germany to Internet platforms aimed at school children or music fans — Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social networking tools — rose from 750 in 2007 to about 6,000 today.

Glaser suggested this estimate represents the tip of the iceberg.

The total number of neo-Nazi websites in Germany rose by 800 in the past year, bringing the total number of sites to 1,872 in the country. According to a report in the Deutsche Welle news agency, this number includes several hundred sites connected with the right-wing extremist National Democratic Party of Germany, which remains a fringe party with a small but vociferous following.

Glaser said his group is trying to educate young Internet users to recognize and reject hate sites. Jugendschutz, which was founded in 1997 by the youth ministers of all German states, has managed to have several sites banned in Germany or blocked in their source countries.

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