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Mannheim attack fuels anti-immigration protests

The attack was caught on video. Credit: X

June 3, 2024 - 11:50am

A 29-year-old policeman has died in Germany, after intervening in a melee in which a knife-wielding attacker tried to stab protesters against Islam. And in corners of the internet-Right they’re dancing on his grave, having turned him into a symbol for the suppression of native opposition to immigration.

The attack happened in Mannheim on Friday, during an event held by Citizens’ Movement Pax Europa (“BĂŒrgerbewegung Pax Europa, or BPE).” This group, described by Reuters as “far Right”, aims in its own words, “to struggle for European culture based on the Judeo-Christian traditions” and campaigns against the spread of Islamic religious rules and precepts in the European public square. The attacker injured 59-year-old Michael StĂŒrzenburger, an anti-Islam activist who was preparing to hold a rally in the square, who was stabbed in the leg and face. The 25-year-old attacker, who has not been named, was an immigrant from Afghanistan.

The attack was caught on a livestream camera set up as part of the BPE rally and has circulated widely. In a few chaotic seconds, the attacker stabs several people and is briefly pinned down by campaigners in BPE insignia while attempting to injure StĂŒrzenburger. By this point several police officers attempt to intervene and immobilise those involved in the struggle. In the course of this, the knifeman wriggles free, gets up, and stabs the police officer still immobilising a BPE member. This officer died of his injuries.

The incident comes amid mounting tensions across Europe over immigration, expected to impel significant gains for Right-wing groups in this summer’s European elections. The increasingly febrile climate was crystallised by the viral spread through Germany of an anti-immigration chant, sung the tune of Gigi D’Agostino’s rave classic L’Amour Toujours. After clips circulated recently of Germans on the exclusive party island Sylt chanting for the expulsion of foreigners, numerous viral tributes and further incidents erupted — resulting in a ban on all performances of L’Amour Toujours from Oktoberfest.

Against this backdrop, the international internet-Right has wasted no time interpreting the Mannheim attack in the context of a wider perception of institutional bias by European authorities against white natives and in favour of migrants. This same perception of bias brought thousands of protesters to central London over the weekend, mobilised by former EDL leader Tommy Robinson, to challenge what Robinson calls “two-tier policing”. In this context, too, the German officer’s death was interpreted by those who embrace this view as bitterly ironic: many international commenters viewed his death as an ironically ungrateful reward for upholding this supposed institutional bias.

I am less convinced that the Mannheim incident represented bias, at least not on the part of the officers present. I had to watch the video several times to make out what happened; the officers themselves had fractions of a second to react, and no doubt followed training in seeking to immobilise everyone rather than picking a side in the chaos. In any case, keeping the peace within the strict conduct rules usually imposed on European police officers must be extraordinarily difficult, especially in situations that turn suddenly violent. The officer stepped bravely into a dangerous situation, and is now dead. My condolences are with his family.

But we can expect the attack to inflame an already volatile immigration debate, both in Germany and internationally — one, indeed, that shows no signs of becoming less so. Nine years ago, Angela Merkel was serenely confident in her prediction that “Wir schaffen das” — we’ll make it work — following her decision to open Germany to more than two million predominantly Muslim migrants, in the wake of the conflict in Syria. Today, the drumbeat of hostility swelling among white Germans despite official deprecation, it’s far from clear that she was right.

Correction: this piece incorrectly translated from the original German source that “two-thirds do have jobs” as “two-thirds of those migrants are still jobless”. We apologise for the error.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
22 days ago

Absolutely reprehensible to have people exploiting this young policeman’s death.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
22 days ago

So a policeman’s death shouldn’t lead to any policy decisions which might reduce the chance of police being stabbed to death?
Can you imagine if that knife-wielding immigrant had been wearing a MAGA hat? Would you still demand that everybody keep quiet about the death of the policeman?

Jake Dee
Jake Dee
22 days ago

I see it as carefully examining that young man’s death. The German political activist was under close police surveillance, the Afghan with a knife was not. The police officer failed to identify the maniac with a knife and turned his back on him to subdue an unarmed German man who was defending against the Afghan. That was when he very unfortunately but literally got it in the neck.
This is what postmodernist might call a “Condensed Symbol”.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
22 days ago

You never hear of these things in Hungary, do you?

David Graham
David Graham
22 days ago

‘Knife-wielding attacker’ – any clues as to his motivation and ultimate responsibility for this tragedy?

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
22 days ago
Reply to  David Graham

Police are baffled.

David Graham
David Graham
22 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

At least one officer shot the attacker in the end. I’m not clear, from other reporting, if he was killed by the shot. There have been other interpretations of the events. Interpretations from all angles seem natural.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
21 days ago
Reply to  David Graham

The Afghan attacker is still alive. He lived illegally in Germany since 2014 and was refused asylum status, but of course was never deported. Only violent illegals get sometimes deported. This whole incident opened the floodgates of political debate and soul searching in Germany. Deafening silence from Muslim leaders and Imams.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
21 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

The media are searching frantically for answers too.

William Cameron
William Cameron
22 days ago

Every time I queue at airport security I think fondly of the common thread running through the reasons for this time consuming process.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
21 days ago

And I love being the one who gets “randomly selected” at least 25% of the time for further inspection, despite being the most obviously Caucasian, Anglo gentlemen there could be. Yet the woman completely covered in veils gets to waltz past me.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
21 days ago

Yes, and this is one of the biggest reasons why I am against immigration from the Middle East. I’ve always found it a convenient excuse for politicians to increase state surveillance over us.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
22 days ago

Of course, this could never happen in the UK because Blair banned the carrying of knives…whilst being complicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians because of non existent WMD.
And anyway Far Right extremists are the major problem…obviously.

Pedro the Exile
Pedro the Exile
22 days ago

Oh dear,oh dear
And in corners of the internet-Right they’re dancing on his grave, having turned him into a symbol for the suppression of native opposition to immigration. 
 This group, described by Reuters as “far Right”, aims in its own words, “to struggle for European culture based on the Judeo-Christian traditions” and campaigns against the spread of Islamic religious rules and precepts in the European public square.
So how would you describe a movement that in its own words wants to establish Islamic values and a theocracy in a historically Judeo-Christian country?????

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
21 days ago

How about ‘far Wrong’?
Or ‘far from where they ought to be if they’re so keen on Islam’.

philip kern
philip kern
21 days ago

I didn’t think Judeo-Christian aligns very closely with far right. I guess not all ‘na*is’ are anti-semitic.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
22 days ago

deleted

Peter B
Peter B
21 days ago

“it’s far from clear that she [Merkel] was right.”
Get off the fence !
It was glaringly obvious even at the time that Merkel was wrong.
All of this was avoidable.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
20 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Spot on.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
21 days ago

Will the BBC be covering the funeral of the policeman live, like they covered the funeral of George Floyd?

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
21 days ago

The Germans just need to introduce some Scottish style hate speech laws – that’ll solve all their problems.

Hale Virginia
Hale Virginia
21 days ago

I don’t think it’s an insignificant point to be made that there were at least 4-5 female officers, one of which can be seen RUNNING AWAY from the attacker, and the rest can be seen standing back and staring cluelessly. I say this as a woman myself, but these women were worse than useless in this situation, and I can’t imagine other would be attackers seeing how useless they were and feeling any kind of intimidation or hesitation by seeing how this all played out. I think it’s obvious many western nations need to begin mass deportations, and I hope the political will to begin this comes much sooner than later. Auslander Raus

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
21 days ago
Reply to  Hale Virginia

As far as I know, the paralyzed, ineffectual response to the Uvalde, Texas school shooting that killed 21 people — mostly children — involved all male responders. I don’t think either sex has a monopoly on effectual, or ineffectual, response in such situations, which are chaotic and notoriously easy to Monday-morning quarterback, involving factors that aren’t always obvious.
Yes, some men and some women lack the courage to do this dangerous work, and thus shouldn’t. But it’d be idiotic for an attacker to generalize from this event that female police are less capable than male police of thwarting assaults, especially when most assailants are taken down by gunfire.

edmond van ammers
edmond van ammers
21 days ago

We were told that the 2 million imports were to help out with a shortage of labour?

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
21 days ago

Meanwhile many more Muslim migrants, mostly single young men, flooded into Germany since 2015.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
21 days ago

No, this is not a sign of two-tier policing and bias within the police. The institutional bias is on the level of the media and politics and I don’t need to listen to anyone from the far-right to become even more angry than I already am at being taken for an utter fool by the journalists (notably those who write for left-leaning publications) and the politicians who just mouth the same old platitudes every time this happens without anything changing.
In the last few months alone:
…hundreds of people have demonstrated on the streets of Hamburg (and were allowed to do so) calling for the establishment of a caliphate in Germany. Even though those demonstrations were more strictly policed subsequently, we have been told that “this is what democracy has to withstand”
…Germany has a national nervous breakdown and a basically harmless song gets banned because a couple of drunks abused the lyrics and were filmed while doing so. Democracy clearly too weak to withstand some silly people who’ve had too much to drink.
…a young policeman gets brutally knifed down by an Afghan who clearly can’t stand it that our liberal Western culture allows criticism of religion. And this is what the Austrian daily DerStandard had to say about it: https://www.derstandard.at/story/3000000222633/nach-dem-messerattentat-in-mannheim-heisst-es-kuehlen-kopf-bewahren. We have to keep “cool heads about it”.
The question is slowly no longer what democracy can withstand, but what the ordinary citizen can withstand in terms of sheer absurdity and double-standards and I am afraid I am right at the end of my tether.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
21 days ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Btw, if a discussion about this is on the cards for UnHerd as part of UnHerd TV, may I suggest inviting the Austrian journalist Florian Klenk. He is a left-wing journalist but has taken a very critical position on Islamism for year and towards the left’s approach to this in general and I have considerable respect for him. (Here’s his statement following the Mannheim incident, if you want to wang it through DeepL translate: https://x.com/florianklenk/status/1796622697272643626)

Johanna Barry
Johanna Barry
21 days ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

And I keep thinking of the two innocent women knifed on a beach last week by a naseem something or other. Or the continued rape en masse of young vulnerable working class girls up and down the country–their human rights coming below those of the brutes abusing them because we don’t want to offend/cause trouble within certain communities. How can anyone in the media or any other ‘elite’ position think this is on any level acceptable.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
21 days ago
Reply to  Johanna Barry

The Progressive State – especially its cowardly police and cynical compliant State media – believes it is better to cover up and lie about the dangers posed to us by Islamists (and especially the danger those gays and lesbians who most represent the sexual ‘corruption’ of the West #Reading,) than to tell the truth and risk heightened communal tension. So we sing songs of love when kids are bombed, defang Prevent and appease away, pretending that the far right (a few weedy student weirdos with adolf tach) are a greater danger to our security than virulent Islamist terror. It is a catastrophic miscalculation, gravely harming the cause of moderate Muslims who need the truth spoken. The EDL was created out of this void of State indifference and propaganda over the grooming gangs. It is truly frightening to consider what this identitarian progressive Labour Party will do with its toxic divisive credos of CRT Islamphobia/race equality laws. They represent a threat to the social order and our domestic security. What are we doing, waltzing blindly to disaster??

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
21 days ago
Reply to  Johanna Barry

Yes, there have been a number of cases like this here too, for instance the stabbing of three Chinese ladies working in the red light milieu in Vienna by another Afghan (he hadn’t been a customer of the place, he’d spied the venue out previously and seemingly gone there intentionally with a knife to commit the act against women whose lives offended him).
Cue statements in the media by people paid by the asylum machine that young men coming from certain cultures get into such internal conflict with their own value systems by simply being in the West that they end up lashing out, i.e. by killing women who are leading their lives in a normal, Western way. Ergo, we need many more resources to take care of them. No we bloomin’ don’t we need many more resources to make sure they don’t get here in the first place and remove the ones that are here if they don’t behave.
This is the kind of conversation we’re having over and over again and – I said it before – I’ve had ENOUGH. Es reicht!

Rob N
Rob N
21 days ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Should that be ‘far right at the end of my tether’?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
21 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Anyone with an iota of common sense is getting to the end of their tether about this and being told that this is all somehow our fault. It’s incredibly insulting.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
21 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Ah, that old chestnut.

William Amos
William Amos
21 days ago

“I could not dig; I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?”

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
21 days ago

A Muslim kills a cop and this article cannot say “right” or “far right” often enough as if only people on that side of the divide think run amok immigration is a problem. Seriously?

Michael Hallihane
Michael Hallihane
21 days ago

The link says two thirds of these refugees have a job. Not that two thirds remain jobless. There is equivocation on the part of the German elite characterising ‘extremism’ as the problem not differentiating between political dissent such as the AfD and violent Islamism. They are in denial.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
21 days ago

German TV news last night had plenty of footing of counter demonstrators shrieking out anti Nazi slogans. As if everyone who stands up against violent, anti-Western migrants are all neo
-Nazis. When will the mainstream media wake up to the danger? When will they have the courage to side with the worried people of Europe?
David Eades

David George
David George
21 days ago

I’m sure it was very frightening but one would think that the crazy with the knife would be the number one target for the police. It certainly doesn’t inspire any confidence when they pin down the victim.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
21 days ago

There’s nothing wrong with espousing inclusion and diversity in principle. Saying everyone is equal and we’re all human beings of theoretically equal value is a nice sentiment. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to high ideals like this. Every religion aspires to something greater, a higher ideal of godliness or what have you.
The problem comes when politicians start behaving as if those principles are actually true, the ideals are easily attainable, and everyone shares the same sentiment. Governance requires pragmatism above all. It should have been obvious that bringing in millions of Muslim immigrants would cause significant problems and those costs should have been balanced against the sentiments of immigration supporters. Instead, we got a doctrinaire approach based on the ideals of how things ‘should’ be instead of the reality of how people actually behave. Big surprise, it’s not working out the way they intended. A lot of problems are frankly caused by the excessive religiosity of people who don’t actually believe in traditional organized religion.
For better or worse, and whatever it says about humanity, pragmatic leaders with a firm grasp of human nature should have seen this one coming from miles away. They should have known that cultures clash, and putting two incompatible cultures together would lead to suspicion, distrust, and fuel a new round of “racist” sentiment. This is what humanity is, and anyone with even a cursory understanding of history should know that. The leaders either didn’t see, or didn’t care, and they deserve all the criticism they are getting for either their ignorant incompetence or their willful defiance. This is bad leadership, period, and they shouldn’t get to use their own righteousness to shield themselves from criticism anymore than the Ayatollah should.

Signe Voss
Signe Voss
21 days ago

The knife-wielding murderer wasn’t “an immigrant”. He was a rejected asylum seeker.

Chipoko
Chipoko
20 days ago

Merkel’s [Frau Frump] decision to open Germany to more than 2 million predominantly Muslim migrants was a catastrophic abuse of leadership imposed not only on the German people, but on the countries of the EU. this decision was forced upon her nation and the EU generally without consultation. Globalist ‘progressives’ like Merkel, Blair, Cameron, Obama, Macron, etc. have ruined our culture and civilisation. In voting them to office we have no idea of the immense power we give to political monsters like them; nor do we have any real understanding of the extent to which they are willing to abuse that power to deliver their political aims. These people have destroyed the concept of the nation state, in which democratically elected politicians are elected to protect the citizens of such states, and to put their collective interests first beyond the interests of foreign entities and populations. Modern leaders focuses on the ‘global majority’ and have inverted the orientation of the law to favour minorities over majorities to pursue the globalist agenda as the path to supreme power. As citizens of western nations we count for little anymore.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
20 days ago

The cop jumped on one of the organisers who was running to help 
 strange as he was an old man who clearly posed no danger to anyone unlike the crazed Muslim waving a knife 
 who was right in front of him 
 anyway he really misjudged the whole thing which cost him his life. RIP.

Forget Russia, Islam is now the biggest threat to Europe since the mongols. Imaging what it’ll be like if we allow it to get to 20%.