Germany’s Far Right: Shisha Lounge Shootings Only Tip of Extremist Iceberg

Written by | Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

After nine people were killed at shisha bars on Wednesday (19 February) by a 43-year-old German man who went on a shooting rampage in the western town of Hanau, the country’s attorney general has said his actions were fueled by deep-seated racism. Investigations will focus on the suspect’s possible connections, both in Germany and abroad. The suspect and his mother were found dead in his apartment overnight on Thursday after a huge manhunt. Germany’s attorney general, Peter Frank, said a video and manifesto posted on the suspect’s website expressed “not only crazy thoughts and convoluted conspiracy theories, but also a deeply racist mentality.”
Federal prosecutors soon took over the investigation due to the severity of the case, as this prosecutorial level primarily handles cases of crimes against the state.The suspect is said to have grown up in the city of Hanau and later trained at and worked in a bank before completing a business degree. Expert analysis of the suspect’s data indicates that he appeared to be a social loner who was actively involved in online conspiracy-theory groups. Attorney General Frank said that all nine individuals who were killed at the bars had immigrant backgrounds, having both German and foreign nationality.
The Hanau shootings are part of a general trend of rising right-wing extremist activity across the country. In 2019, a far-right attack on a synagogue in Halle left two dead and later aregional conservative German politician Walter Lübcke, who had spoken out in favor of migration, was murdered in his home by a far-right extremist. Last week, police conducted raids on right-wing militias suspected of planning xenophobic attacks and trying to create “civil war-like” conditions. German authorities announced they registered an increase in far-right extremist activity in 2019 and have responded to these developments by ramping up intelligence efforts against those suspected of holding extremist views.

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