Germany Cracks Down on Foreigners Who Glorify Terrorist Acts

(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s ruling coalition is seeking to crack down on foreigners who glorify the killing of Israeli civilians or similar acts of terror with updated legislation that would facilitate their expulsion from the country.

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Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet approved the amendment to Germany’s deportation law at its regular meeting Wednesday in Berlin. It’s part of a push to claw back the initiative in an increasingly heated debate over migration, an issue successfully exploited by the far-right Alternative for Germany party.

The updated rules would mean that even a single comment on social media deemed to be lauding terror can be enough to prompt deportation for people without a German passport.

“We are taking tough action against Islamist and antisemitic hate crime online,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in an emailed statement.

“Glorifying such acts not only lacks any humanity,” added Faeser, a member of Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats. “The brutalization on the internet also fuels a climate of violence that can encourage extremists to commit new acts of violence.”

The move by Scholz’s ruling alliance of the SPD, the Greens and the Free Democrats is partly a reaction to a wave of hate posts on social media following the Hamas attack on Israel in October and a fatal knife attack on a police officer by an Afghan asylum seeker in May.

“The Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel were celebrated in the most disgusting way on social media,” Faeser said. “Just as inhumane is the way that the terrible Islamist knife attack in Mannheim, in which the young police officer Rouven Laur was killed, was glorified online.”

She urged the parliamentary groups of the three coalition parties to pass the amendment in the Bundestag lower house “as quickly as possible.”

The stricter rules were flagged by Scholz this month in a speech to parliament. He also outlined plans to enable the deportation of asylum seekers who commit crimes in Germany to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and war-torn Syria.

While some members of the Greens have voiced reservations about sharpening deportation rules, Economy Minister Robert Habeck, a member of the party who is also the vice chancellor, voiced his support on Wednesday in an emailed statement.

“It is a great achievement and strength of our country that persecuted people can find protection in Germany,” Habeck said.

“But anyone who mocks the liberal basic order by cheering on terrorism and celebrating terrible murders forfeits their right to stay,” he added. “Islam belongs to Germany, Islamism does not.”

(Updates with Faeser, Habeck comments starting in fourth paragraph)

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