Beatrix von Storch, MP of Alternative for Germany (AfD) was temporarily removed from Twitter in accordance with Germany’s new laws which will fine up to 50 million euros (about 60 million U.S. dollars) for failing to censor “offensive” content.
Von Storch’s “problematic” tweet was in response to the Cologne Police’s New Years tweet which was in Arabic. Storch claimed that the police were merely submitting to “barbaric, gang raping, Muslim hordes.”
Many slammed Von Storch for this statement, dubbing her tweet anti-Muslim. Since the Syrian refugee crisis and subsequent open border policy, millions of North Africans and Middle Easterners have poured into Germany and the European Union, seeking asylum and the many benefits that Western Europe provides them with. Others stood with the MP, lobbying complaints of censorship, and an attempt to shut down debate on an issue dear to many Germans and Westerners.
The AfD began as a Eurosceptic party, much like Nigel Farage’s UK independence party. Since then it has shifted greatly to the right. In 2016 AfD stated that Islam was “not welcome”. Many in Germany compare the AfD to the Nazis, due to the fact that they seem to have the desire to keep Germany German.
Despite widespread disdain, the party has recently become the 3rd largest in the country. The debate between what is considered “hate speech” continues to rage as the Overton window shifts.