- Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
German soccer team confronts neo-Nazi fan violence
Question of the Day
BERLIN (AP) - Facing a surge of right-wing extremism among fans, the soccer club Borussia Dortmund has long used social workers at games to defuse tense situations and help promote tolerance.
This month, however, the social workers were attacked by a group of neo-Nazi fans. One of them was beaten badly in a stadium bathroom.
Far-right extremists in the west German city of 600,000 have infiltrated some of Borussia Dortmund’s rabid fan groups. They are recruiting sympathizers, leading to more thuggery and violence.
Dortmund, in the heartland of the industrial Ruhr area, is a magnet for immigrants from all over the world. It also serves as a focal point for neo-Nazis in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In no other German state are more right-wing offenses recorded.
Media reports suggest about 100 neo-Nazis regularly attend games among 24,500 fans on the south terrace, Europe’s largest standing-only section, in Dortmund’s Westfalen Stadium.
“We believe there are a few right-wing extremists,” the club said in a statement. “The authorities say they have not noticed a significant increase in their numbers in recent years. However, there have been significant changes in the type of incidents.”
It may be a fringe group, but violence has increased dramatically.
Before Dortmund’s Champions League game at Shakhtar Donetsk on Feb. 13, fan representative Jens Volke was accosted and struck in the face when he approached three neo-Nazis who were chanting far-right slogans.
Two of the men then followed Dortmund Fan Project leader Thilo Danielsmeyer to the toilet. The door burst open, and as Danielsmeyer turned around, he was struck in the face. An accomplice kept watch while the beating continued. The assailant kept punching him, kicking him in the back, before trying repeatedly to bash his head against the wall.
The three hooligans have been identified by the club and banned from stadiums across Germany. Each faces charges of causing grievous bodily harm and verbal abuse.
“The actions were despicable and represent an absolute taboo,” Dortmund managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke said.
The club has pledged “zero tolerance” for right-wing extremism but faces an escalating struggle as neo-Nazis answer with displays of defiance and violent acts of reprisal.
Danielsmeyer was a logical target. The Dortmund Fan Project was founded in 1988 to combat xenophobia and racism, while promoting a message of tolerance and inclusion to troubled young men.
Lately, however, members have drifted from the group and become more receptive to far-right ideology _ and to violence.
The president could pay the full price for ignoring Congress
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- BERMAN & MADYOON: An Iranian-Turkish reset
- MAY: Barbarians at Jordan's gate
- EDITORIAL: Obamacare in intensive care
- Pentagon team dispatched to Ukraine amid crisis with Russia
- Hamas terrorists wear Israeli army uniforms to ambush soldiers in Gaza
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq