'Asylum Chaos' - German magazine spreads word of rising anti-immigrant party

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 15, 2016 10:22 AM

By Joseph Nasr

BERLIN (Reuters) - With headlines like "Asylum Chaos", a German magazine is spreading the views of an anti-immigrant party that has vaulted into three state legislatures due to voter anger over Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy towards refugees.

Monthly magazine Compact was founded five years ago but its profile has risen markedly since the influx of 1.1 million asylum-seekers last year that has spurred an electoral surge of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Compact offers a taste of the ideology behind the AfD, which denies accusations by establishment center-left and center-right politicians and the media that it harbors members with xenophobic and anti-democratic views.

Some of its recent headlines include Asylum Chaos, Dictatorship Merkel, Vote Her Out, The Better Chancellor - a reference to AfD co-leader Frauke Petry, and Fair Game Woman, an allusion to sexual assaults by North African migrants.

Compact's February edition landed two policemen in hot water after a citizen posted a picture online showing a copy on the dashboard of a police van and asking whether this showed officers were no longer politically neutral.

Police responded on Twitter: "No, we are of course non-partisan! Nevertheless, sorry." A police spokeswoman said the two officers in question had been transferred to other duties for six months.

Compact editor-in-chief Juergen Elsaesser, an outspoken fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin, argues that Petry would make a better chancellor than Merkel for a simple reason: "In contrast to 'Mutti', Petry has real children, four in fact."

Germans use the nickname "Mutti" to refer to Merkel's image as the maternal guardian of German interests. The AfD and far-right groups say she is the "worst chancellor ever".

In response to sexual attacks on women blamed on migrants on New Year's Eve, Compact featured a close-up of a blue-eyed woman trying to free herself from a dark-skinned hand pressing her mouth and nose. The headline read: Fair Game Woman.

The AfD says it wants to end the "asylum chaos" in Germany by shutting the country's borders, tightening asylum rules and sending people with genuine claims to safe third countries.

Compact's Facebook page now has 74,000 "likes" and Elsaesser has more than 14,000 followers on the social media site.

Merkel vowed on Monday to stick with her migrant policy despite seeing her Christian Democrats (CDU) party punished by voters who flocked to the AfD in three state elections on Sunday.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Mark Heinrich)