Germany will strengthen its security services, clamp down on “enemies lists” and convene a special task force on hatred targeting Muslims as part of a major package of measures against far-right extremism.
The set of 89 proposals was signed off by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet on Wednesday after a series of far right atrocities that rattled Germany.
The package includes tighter gun laws, measures to tackle online hatred and closer co-operation between security services.
There will also be more funding for education and civil society groups and a new government-commissioned study into racism in Germany.
“Never before has the government done so much to tackle right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism,” said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.
“It is a central ambition of this government to strengthen the defences of our democracy.”
One of the specific proposals is for the distribution of enemy’s lists, also described by the government as “death lists”, to be made a specific criminal offence.
The lists are used by extremists to intimidate their enemies into silence because they fear reprisals from the far right, the government said.
Reforms to the security services will include closer co-operation between criminal investigators and a military counter-intelligence service.
Measures will be drawn up to tackle extremism in the German Army after areport found hundreds of suspected cases in the security services.
Another proposal envisages an Independent Expert Council on Islamophobia, which will issue a report within two years on racism against Muslims.
The body appears to sideline the Ministry of the Interior’s own German Islam Conference and is tasked with an independent look into the overlap between Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
In a separate measure by regional authorities, the anti-Islam protest movement Pegida is set to be placed under tighter surveillance in its home state of Saxony.
Pegida responded by urging its supporters to gather for a socially distanced rally in Dresden, the capital of Saxony, next week.