Islamophobic tweets by controversial German politician Beatrix von Storch following Saturday’s van rampage in Münster have prompted calls for her to step down. The deputy leader of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) took to Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the attack blaming it on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policy.
As doubts were cast about any Islamist motive, von Storch refused to retract her statement, describing the driver as an “emulator of Islamist terror”.
Translation: "An emulator of Islamic terror strikes. And the 'trivialisers' and 'Islam-is-diversity' apologists celebrate. The extent of the jubilation is the proof that all see the danger they deny perfectly: Islam will strike again. The question is not if, but when."
Calls for von Storch’s resignation came from the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), who accused her of exploiting the tragedy for political gains.
“Whoever exploits this event in the way that Ms von Storch did, has no place in the German parliament,” said the party’s general secretary Markus Blume said on Monday. “If Ms von Storch even had a shred of decency she would immediately resign her seat in parliament,” he added.
This is not the first time von Storch has drawn criticism for her Twitter tirades. Police in Cologne filed a criminal complaint for inciting hatred on New Year's Eve, when she posted xenophobic comments about the force's tweet wishing a happy New Year in several languages, including Arabic.
CDU demands response from AfD
Merkel's CDU party also demanded a statement on the controversial tweets from the AfD leadership, calling the comments posted on Twitter a deliberate "transgression". CDU general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said similar incidents in the past raise questions about how far the leadership of the AfD "will tolerate such members among their midst, both in their parliamentary party and in prominent roles."
Van driver was a German with mental health problems
A 48-year-old German man drove into a crowd of people outside a restaurant in Münster's old town on Saturday, killing two and wounding about 20 others — some of them critically. Investigators have not established a motive, and suspect mental health problems as the cause. The man shot himself at the scene.