Members of LEGIDA, the Leipzig arm of the anti-Islam movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), take part in a rally in Leipzig, Germany January 11, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
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The Alternative for Germany party (AfD) started the year by railing against "barbaric, Muslim, gang-raping hordes," ending months of relative post-election calm and any remaining doubt about its hardening far-right course. If the AfD had been at pains to portray itself as a patriotic conservative force after the Sept. 24 polls, the latest slur signaled that an extremist faction is winning the battle for control, say political scientists.While the AfD's declared enemy, Chancellor Angela Merkel, has been struggling to form a new government with the Social Democrats, the AfD has barely been out of the headlines in recent weeks.AfD deputy leader Beatrix von Storch started 2018 by attacking police in the western city of Cologne for tweeting in Arabic, as well as in German, English and French, on New Year's Eve.Another tweet, from AfD lawmaker Jens Maier's account, defamed tennis legend Boris Becker's adult son Noah as "a little half-negro".
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