Ban Sought on Anti-Immigrant Party; Social Democrats Call Racism Intolerable

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 29, 2007 | Go to article overview

Ban Sought on Anti-Immigrant Party; Social Democrats Call Racism Intolerable


Byline: David Crossland, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

BERLIN - Germany's Social Democratic Party wants to outlaw an anti-immigrant party amid a nationwide outcry over the recent beating of eight men from India by Germans shouting "foreigners out."

"We need a political climate in Germany that makes unmistakably clear that anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination will not be tolerated," said Social Democrat leader Kurt Beck.

His party shares power with the Christian Democrats led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mr. Beck said his party would take up a proposed ban on the New Democratic Party (NPD) at an annual conference in October.

NPD leader Udo Voigt riled many Germans last week by calling for Adolf Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously. His comments followed the Aug. 18 beating of eight Indian men in the eastern town of Muegeln. The men survived the ordeal.

Mrs. Merkel and her conservative Christian Democrats oppose a ban, fearing a repeat of a disastrous 2003 attempt to ban the NPD.

Another failure would be a "gigantic embarrassment for the state - and we should all spare ourselves that," said Wolfgang Bosbach, a conservative member of parliament's Internal Affairs Committee.

Germany's Supreme Court threw out the case in 2003 because it emerged that important witnesses for the prosecution worked as informants for the domestic intelligence service, including the NPD chief for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The court decided that it couldn't ban a party whose policies may have been shaped in part by government agents. …

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Ban Sought on Anti-Immigrant Party; Social Democrats Call Racism Intolerable
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