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German police blitz music-swap neo-Nazis

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German police yesterday raided the homes of over 300 alleged Neo-Nazis accused of distributing racist skinhead music over the Internet.

They seized CDs and computers in an investigation into 342 individuals suspected of disseminating Nazi material via the Net. Publishing such material is illegal in Germany.

Federal Crime Office President Joerg Ziercke said: "Inciting racial hatred is more than just a petty crime.Young people are being targeted and brought into the world of anti-Semitism and hatred of foreigners."

In December 2002, sixteen-year-old Marius Schoeberl was tortured and murdered by two youths simply "because he looked like a Jew". The pair had been "listening to neo-Nazi music, with its angry lyrics and furious sound, as well as drinking alcohol, before they set off into the night in search of a victim."

Concerns about the rise of German neo-Nazism were further fuelled in 2003 when police foiled an apparent plot to bomb a Munich Jewish centre during a visit by the German president. Shortly after, interior minister Otto Schily told German TV that: "There have been hints that right extremists are really a great potential danger for our society... and this has now been dramatically confirmed."

Yesterday's raids appear to confirm that the authorities are trying to address the issue. As well as the latest busts, last year saw a clampdown on hard-core members of the notorious Combat 18 in Schleswig-Holstein. ®

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