Germany’s main anti-immigrant party has sparked outrage after its vice-chairman said people would not want German black football star Jerome Boateng as their neighbour.
Bayern Munich defender Boateng, born in Berlin to a Ghanaian father and German mother, is part of Germany’s national squad and likely to play for his country in the European Championships in France that begins on June 10.
But Alexander Gauland, vice chair of the Alternative for Germany party told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: ‘People find him good as a football player but they don’t want a Boateng as their neighbour.’
Gauland later said he was simply relaying the opinion of some people and not expressing his own view.
Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for the German government, condemned Gauland’s comment on Monday as ‘malicious and sad’.
The remarks elicited fury on social media and criticism from across the German political spectrum.
Some supporters in the Augsburg stadium where Germany played Slovakia on Sunday night displayed banners supporting the 27-year-old Boateng, with one saying: ‘Jerome, move in next to us!’
Boateng, who picked up his 58th cap on Sunday and helped Germany win the World Cup in 2014, told German TV channel ARD after the match: ‘I can only smile about it.
‘It’s sad that something like this can still happen today. I believe there were enough positive answers today in the stadium. I saw some banners.’
Midfielder Sami Khedira, who captained Germany on Sunday and has a Tunisian father, described Gauland’s words as ‘outrageous’.
Before the match, hundreds expressed their solidarity with Boateng on micro-blogging site Twitter. ‘If you want to win titles for Germany, you need neighbours like him,’ tweeted Boateng’s fellow German international player Benedikt Howedes.
Using a Twitter tag that translates as ‘my neighbour Boateng’, user Andreas Mayer tweeted: ‘There’s a free flat in our building, but not for Mr Gauland.’
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Source:: PM Newspaper