BERLIN (Reuters) - A new acronym coined by German police to describe troublemaking migrants from North Africa has sharpened a national debate over immigration and crime as the country recovers from a deadly attack and gears up for a vital election this year.
Police in Cologne said this week they had prevented trouble on New Year's Eve by screening some 650 'Nafris' - an abbreviation of 'Nordafrikanische Intensivtaeter' or 'North African Repeat Offenders' - and removing 190 from the city center. The operation followed intense criticism of the police for failing to protect hundreds of women from being sexually molested, mostly by North African men, at the start of 2016. Racial profiling is not legal in Germany, but police have powers to screen anyone seen as a potential security threat, Security and immigration are both key issues as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to run for a fourth term, facing intense pressure for letting in more than a million migrants in the past two years.
*/ var check For Promos And Render = function(should Show Popover) ; /* render Promo Details This is a function for checking which promotions will be applied to a purchase and render those details in the popover.But the 'Nafri' tag has set off a row, with some politicians on the left denouncing it as racist while defenders argue it is just one more acronym in a language filled with difficult compound nouns. A failed asylum-seeker killed 12 people by ploughing a truck through a crowded Berlin Christmas market last month, emboldening critics who argue that the mass influx from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan is exposing the country to terrorism."It's bizarre and so typically German to be arguing about the word 'Nafri' instead of saying 'fortunately there were no problems'," said Thomas Jaeger, political scientist at Cologne University. Last year's Cologne sex attacks helped revitalize the Af D, which scored a series of electoral successes in 2016 and even beat Merkel's conservatives into third place in one state.“I also want to talk to you about small details like the use of mobile phones and the need to respect the rules, traffic lights, and road signs in our country,” he tells his viewers.“For example, we don’t use mobile phones while driving, we respect pedestrian lights and we do not cross when they’re red.” He also suggested not phoning or texting German friends in the evening, as they will be resting after a long day at work and will most likely be annoyed.Pocher's first television appearance was on 28 October 1998 at the afternoon chat show of Bärbel Schäfer.Pocher was given 5 minutes to make the audience laugh. Between January 2003 to 14 April 2006 he presents the show Rent a Pocher on Pro Sieben.(‘Hello’ in Arabic) features tips such as ‘stick to the rules’, and lessons on cultural tolerance.It also reminds viewers that German Basic Law — the constitution — takes precedence over all others, including Sharia.Af D leader Frauke Petry weighed into the latest controversy with a sarcastic tweet, saying: "Nafris were probably on the way to join the church choir." The German interior ministry said 'Nafri' is not a term it uses and Cologne police chief Juergen Mathies said it was "unfortunate" that a term employed internally had been used in public.The police union said it was simply an acronym and not racist.Schreiber tells the viewers: “Freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly are just three of the main rights secured by [German] Basic Law.” Deputy Finance Minister Jens Spahn then spells out what freedom of expression looks like in Germany: “Freedom of speech means everyone may say what they think.Freedom of the press means you may make jokes, even about religion.He also appeared in the comedian group Holla-Bolla and as an entertainer at Birte Karalus, a German chat show.