A German town cancelled its children’s carnival today after authorities received an anonymous letter written in German and Arabic threatening “infidels”.
The letter, which was written in a style described as “disjointed”, contained a series of phrases in both languages, including “Germany kills all Muslims”, and threatened an attack on the children’s parade.
Local paper Westfälischer Anzeiger said authorities cancelled the carnival in the town of Herne in western Germany after consulting local police over the note. Around 250 people were expected to attend the event on Sunday as towns all over Germany celebrate the climax of carnival season.
Event organiser Rüdiger Pfeifer said he was “shocked and disappointed” at the note, but added that while they have “no fear of a terrorist attack” they cannot provide total security.
A 46-year-old man later admitted sending the letter, with police saying it was possible he was mentally unwell.
The threat comes amid tight security at carnival parades across Germany following the mass sex attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.
Police fear another episode of the so-called ‘Taharrush‘ phenomenon, where hundreds of men attack women at large public gatherings. It has been a problem in the Arab world, especially North African, but was largely unknown in Europe until last year’s migrant crisis.
In the wake of the Cologne assaults, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police said they were looking at how North African countries deal with the phenomenon.
A spokesman commented: “Such crimes, committed by groups of young men, are of particular concern to local police during large gatherings of people such as demonstrations. The attacks range from sexual harassment to rape.”
Cologne has beefed up its security for the carnival season, with around 2,500 officers drafted in the patrol the streets and a security budget of around 360,000 euros.
Police have even installed a “security point” for women in the cathedral square that will be staffed with psychologists and social workers.
Local police chief Jürgen Mathies said: “No form of violence has any place at the carnival. That’s why we will take vigorous action against all those who overstep the line. That goes for drunk abusers, thieves or sexual offenders who cannot accept that a woman says ‘no’.”