Germany, recently always at the head of a super project to save the euro, is now in the news for a completely different reason. The western European country’s sixteen states recommended that the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) be banned. The decision comes as the far-right has been trying to raise its head in a nation that is now largely seen as an example of tolerance and liberal values. The country houses a large Muslim population with Turks forming a big chunk of it.
Neo-Nazi cells have been there in the country and last year it emerged that a group had killed at least 10 people, most of them immigrants, over a period of seven years.
The recommendation to ban the NPD by the interior ministers of the sixteen German states is a move that will discourage far-right forces and help to forge a more tolerant society in a country that has seen the ravages of the Holocaust under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.
The move towards the ban had been gathering pace from early this year with the country’s federal and state interior ministers announcing that moves were afoot to slap a ban on the NPD. It is not the first time that the NPD is facing a ban. In 2003, a similar move was scuttled in the absence of sufficient evidence. But this time, German politicians supporting the move are confident the far-rightists won’t be able to get around the ban. A conservative interior minister said yesterday that they were confident of proving that the party was a danger to the constitution.
In July this year, the head of the German intelligence agency had to resign following the coming to light of a series of mistakes in the investigation of a neo-Nazi cell. There was an uproar in the country in December 2011 when a series of murders of migrants most of whom were Turks surfaced, lending a blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government. Calling the killings a disgrace, the charismatic Merkel sought forgiveness from the families of the ten people consumed by right-wing hatred.
The ban on NPD comes at a time when Merkel is busy grappling with the almost-ubiquitous European financial crisis that threatens to obfuscate all other crises.
The decision to recommend banning the party is a laudable one, but Berlin has to tread carefully from here. Considering that an attempt to ban the party has proved unsuccessful in the past, any lackadaisical approach to the problem by Berlin may not only lead to glorifying the vicious intentions of a far-right party, it may also show the government in a poor light.
The problem of extremism seems to be becoming all-pervasive. It is for the developing world to turn out as a role-model in fighting the scourge.