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German politician censored, under investigation for anti-Muslim tweet by new hate speech laws; blocked from social media

Beatrix von Storch in the WDR broadcast hard but fair (Wikimedia/Superbass)
January 03, 2018

The deputy leader from the Alternative for Germany Party (AfD) was blocked from Twitter and Facebook after responding to a tweet from the Cologne Police that was written in Arabic, and she is also now being investigated under Germany’s new hate speech laws, The New York Times reported.

Beatrix von Storch slammed Cologne Police after they wrote a tweet in Arabic and several other languages. The tweet wished the people of Cologne and Leverkusen a Happy New Year.

“What the hell is going on in this country? How come an official NRW [North Rhine-Westphalia] police account tweets in Arabic? Do you intend to appease these barbaric gang-raping hordes of Muslim men in such a way?” von Storch wrote on New Year’s Eve in response to the Cologne Police tweet.

Cologne made headlines on New Year’s Eve 2015 when hundreds of men groped, assaulted or robbed women. Many of the men were asylum seekers or other immigrants.

Von Storch at the time said the men were “not Protestant Swedes, not Catholic Poles, not Orthodox Russians, not Jewish Israelis and not Buddhist Thais. The overwhelming majority of them are young Muslim men for whom women and followers of other faiths are second-class citizens.”

Her most recent tweet, referencing the mass assault on women, was later deleted and von Storch’s Twitter account was shut down for 12 hours after being informed that she violated Germany’s new hate speech laws. On Monday, the Cologne Police filed a criminal complaint against her for hate speech.

The AfD criticized the censorship, this after a new German social media law went into effect on Jan. 1 in an attempt to prevent hate speech on social media. As a result of the new law, social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook have 24 hours to remove hate speech or they could be fined up to $60 million.

A tweet from AfD MP Alice Weidel was also blocked by Twitter for criticizing von Storch’s ban.

“Our authorities submit to imported, marauding, groping, beating, knife-stabbing migrant mobs,” Weidel wrote.

When von Storch’s account was reinstated, she posted another tweet on Monday saying that her Facebook account was censored due to hate speech, as well.

“Facebook has now also censored me. This is the end of the constitutional state,” she wrote.

The Facebook post read: “Happy New Year in a free country in which everyone can call barbarians barbarians, even if they are Muslims!”

Reports of her social media posts have been given to state prosecutors, who are currently investigating.