BERLIN (AA) – The number of crimes committed by far-right activists in Germany has sharply increased to reach the highest level since 2001, the country’s Interior Ministry said on Monday.
Politically motivated far-right crimes rose by a record 34.9 percent in 2015 and reached an all-time high of 22,960 incidents, according to new figures released by the ministry.
Among the nearly 23,000 far-right offences, 1,485 were violent attacks.
Police also recorded 1,031 attacks against asylum centers in 2015, five times more than such attacks reported in the previous year.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the crime statistics revealed the danger of growing radicalization.
“In these attacks against asylum centers, 90 percent of the identified suspects are persons living in the neighborhood,” he told a news conference in Berlin.
“Forty-four percent of these identified suspects did not have any criminal record before,” he added.
Germany has witnessed growing anti-refugee and anti-Muslim sentiment in recent years, triggered by propaganda from far-right and populist parties which have attempted to exploit the refugee crisis and fears of radical religious and terrorist groups.
The country took in 1.1 million refugees in 2015; most were Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans fleeing civil wars and other conflicts.