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German Government Ramps Up Monitoring of Conservatives
by Andrew E. Harrod
The recent controversial decision by the Bavarian Office of Constitutional Protection (Verfassungsschutz) to monitor the popular conservative German website Politically Incorrect (PI) has only subsequently become more questionable. Contrary comments by the director of Germany's Federal Office of Constitutional Protection (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz), public statements by local authorities in Munich, and suspicions of political calculations all raise grave doubts about the propriety of PI's official "anti-constitutional" branding. Irrespective of motive, PI's predicament demonstrates yet again how public authorities can have a proverbial "chilling effect" upon free speech with respect to Islam.
As previously reported, the Bavarian Verfassungsschutz decided on April 12, 2013, to begin monitoring local chapters of PI and the allied Freedom Party (Die Freiheit) due to their consistent criticism/condemnation of Islam. Such hostility to Islamic ideas prompted suspicions by the Bavarian Verfassungsschutz that these groups opposed Germany's constitutionally-anchored equal rights before the law with respect to Muslim individuals. Verfassungsschutz offices in Germany at both the federal and the provincial level such as in Bavaria have the mandate to observe and report on such anti-democratic extremist groups.
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