What was first assumed to be a xenophobic attack against migrant accommodation has been unmasked as a migrant arson attack, and an attempt to blame Neo-Nazis for the crime.
A Syrian national has claimed his burning down a migrant hostel in Bingen am Rhein, Germany was a political act, intended to bring attention to what are claimed to be cramped living conditions. Hoping to escape responsibility for the crime, he spray-painted swastikas at the entrance of the building before setting a fire in the basement.
Four fellow migrants living in the hostel and two fire-fighters experienced light injuries in the ensuring blaze which ripped through the building on Sunday morning. A fire spokesman told press that there could have been fatalities had fire crews not responded so quickly, avoiding “catastrophe”.
Despite the 26 year old perpetrator eventually confessing to his crime on Sunday, telling police he had been put up to it by other migrants in the building, left-wing activists in the town still decided to hold an anti-fascist rally afterwards. The town council supported the demonstration, reports Die Welt, and offered a €5,000 reward for anyone who could find the fictional fascist fire-bomber.
Once news had spread that the migrant had confessed spread to the demonstration the nature of the speeches changed, with participants calling for Germans to do more to support vulnerable newcomers.
The Syrian perpetrator has now reportedly told police he didn’t realise how quickly the fire would spread, and was only acting to draw attention to “crowded living conditions in the property to and the lack of future prospects”.
That many automatically assumed the attack had been visited by neo-Nazis is despite past cases of migrants having performed exactly the same trick, and not having got away with it. A 2009 report from Lübeck, Germany reveals how a restaurant owner and two migrant helpers burnt down his failing premises in hope of claiming the insurance money.
Although they spray-painted swastikas on the front wall before burning the building the deceit was detected, and the two migrant males ‘Ahmed A.’ and ‘Hamdi G’ were sentenced to be deported after serving their sentences.
Muslim migrants have also attempted to blame other crimes on neo-Nazis. A 2009 report of the Sächsische Zeitung reports there was “no right-wing extremist background” to an attack on a local mosque after police discovered the men who had painted swastikas on the walls had actually been Algerian migrants.
The man who painted the symbol on the Synagogue wall went to great efforts not to be seen by passing trams, hiding as they went by. He might have got away with the crime, had he realised there was a security camera pointing at where he was standing.