Presenter's anti-racism message goes viral in Germany

Anja Reschke (above) urges citizens to stand up against hate mongering in her video.
Anja Reschke (above) urges citizens to stand up against hate mongering in her video.FACEBOOK

BERLIN (AFP) - A German TV journalist's impassioned appeal for a "rebellion of the decent" against racism and attacks on asylum seekers, has gone viral online.

The video message, in which presenter Anja Reschke urges citizens to stand up against hate mongering, was viewed more than five million times via Facebook alone within 48 hours.

She said that the vitriol, often published by people unabashed at giving their real names, was now receiving many "likes" on social media, and accused "little racist nobodies" of inciting arson attacks and other violence.

Recorded attacks on refugees shelters and asylum-seekers have risen to more than 200 so far this year, as Germany faces a record influx of refugees, with 300,000 asylum seekers registered since January.

"The hate mongers must understand that society doesn't tolerate" their message, said Reschke in a two-minute commentary first aired on public broadcaster ARD Wednesday.

"If you don't think that all refugees are parasites who should be chased away, burned or gassed, then you should say so very clearly," she said, citing some of the most hateful online commentary.

Reschke said Germany's "last rebellion of the decent was 15 years ago", referring to an appeal in 2000 by then-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to oppose racism and anti-semitism.

"I think it's time again," she said, adding that she was "already looking forward to the comments" to her message.

While her appeal received more than 120,000 Facebook "likes", it also drew some criticism, with some accusing Reschke of seeking to stifle debate.

A lawmaker for the far-left Linke party, Ulla Jelpke, meanwhile, pointed out that "one way of fanning sentiment against refugees" had been to claim some of them were Islamist extremists.

The interior ministry, in response to an information request by the Linke, said Friday it had "no tangible evidence" of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militants entering Germany under the guise of being refugees.