The steady flow of new immigrants and refugees into Germany has brought simmering racial tensions to the boiling point.

Young adults and teenagers have been drawn into racial confrontations in a big way. Today Germany boasts at least 50 fascist-oriented rock groups. A recording of the group Bösen Onkelz, though declared illegal, has nevertheless been a top seller. Another group, CPG, is harmonizing with this text: “A flamethrower is the only weapon with which I can win. Eliminate every gypsy, adult, and child.”

The growth of violent assaults, urban vandalism, and desecrations of Jewish memorials has deeply alarmed German Christians. At its recent annual meeting, the board of the German Evangelical Alliance, representing 1.3 million evangelicals, urged Christians to speak out against xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and abortion. Hartmut Steeb, the alliance’s general secretary, said Christians should expand their sense of political responsibility.

Rudi Pahnke, a Lutheran official and former East German dissident, believes the rightist world view has given many people a sense of stability without a moral orientation, and past guilt is being ignored.

Political issues, however, do not seem to be the driving force for discontent among disadvantaged young adults in German cities. Herbert Weimer, a charismatic evangelical youth leader based in Oranienburg near Berlin, said, “Their frustration is not primarily aimed at society. It rather is directed toward those adult superiors with whom they deal daily.”

Johannes Rosemann, a Baptist pastor in the formerly East German city of Plauen, recognizes a clear preference for authoritarian structures among the so-called skinheads, who find friendship, solidarity, clear structures, and ready answers ...

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