German president urges vigilance against xenophobia

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    President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged vigilance against xenophobia and far-right extremism in Germany, ahead of the 25th anniversary of an arson attack in Solingen, which killed five members of a Turkish family.

    In a Facebook message he posted on Monday, Steinmeier said he recently met and talked with Mevlude Genc, who lost two daughters, two granddaughters and a niece in the attack on May 29, 1993.

    “We should keep alive the memory of this gruesome act,” Steinmeier said, and underlined the responsibility of state for the security of all individuals in Germany, irrespective of their country of origin.

    “Remembering [Solingen] obliges us to vigorously combat all forms of xenophobia and far-right extremism,” he stressed.

    Steinmeier also shared photos from his meeting with Genc and her family members at the Bellevue palace on Friday.

    He thanked Genc for her mature and cool-headed attitude, and for her efforts for peaceful coexistence in Germany.

    “Mevlude Genc can be a role model for every one of us, who engage in fight against discrimination, racism and violence,” he added.

    The house of Genc family was set ablaze in 1993 by four young far-right extremists aged between 16 and 23, amid growing resentment against immigrants in the country, after the unification of East and West Germany in 1990.

    Dozens of xenophobic attacks between 1990 and 1996 claimed the lives of at least 18 immigrants and asylum seekers, and injured dozens more.

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