German AfD MP under fire for anti-Muslim new year tweets

Beatrix von Storch

This past summer, the German government passed its Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG) law requiring social media sites to monitor and immediately remove any hate speech, fake news or illegal material, or face fines.

Beatrix von Storch had both her Twitter and Facebook accounts frozen on January 1 for supposedly violating "hate speech" rules, after the political leader expressed her anger on social media at a New Year's greeting issued in Arabic by the Cologne Police.

"Do you think it is to appease the barbaric, gang-raping hordes of Muslim men?" von Storch tweeted.

The police force tweeted its message in a number of languages, including English and French as well as Arabic and German.

Twitter suspended Ms Storch's account for 12 hours in response to her post, saying it had breached the site's rules. "Why is the official page of police in NRW tweeting in Arabic", Beatrix von Storch, a member of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), wrote in a December 31 tweet.

She then re-posted the same message on Facebook, where it was also blocked for reasons of incitement.

In December, the social network booted Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen, who famously posted three bigoted anti-Muslim videos that were later shared by President Donald Trump, as well as least two other accounts tied to the United Kingdom -based group in what became known as the #TwitterPurge.

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The AfD won seats in the national parliament for the first time in September's election, riding a wave of discontent over Chancellor Angela Merkel's 2015 decision to let more than one million migrants and refugees, mostly Muslims, enter Germany.

Beatrix von Storch, deputy leader of Germany's far-right AfD party, had her Twitter account suspended on Monday following anti-Muslim remarks, reported BBC.

The authorities are considering whether Von Storch should be charged with incitement to hatred, a criminal offence.

Similar atrocities were only avoided this year, she said, through the deployment of "a vast number of police".

"Defending freedom and democracy from political correctness, censorship, crime and Islamism is what the AfD is all about", she said.

If prosecutors deem there are sufficient grounds to launch an official criminal investigation against her, they would first have to ask parliament to suspend her immunity.

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