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Far-Right Misinformation Stokes Anti-Refugee Sentiment

By Anna Clauß, Matthias Bartsch

05 Jan 2016 · 7 min read

"Shameful!!!!" Four exclamation points punctuated a recent Facebook post, in which a user expressed outrage over an incident in the eastern German town of Lostau. Locals had accused refugees of plundering a petting zoo, slaughtering some goats and eating them around a campfire.

The story aimed directly at the heart of German animal lovers, taxpayers and immigration opponents. But there was just one problem: It wasn't true. "There hasn't been a petting zoo here for years," says Thomas Voigt, Lostau's mayor. Back when East Germany still existed, wild boars, deer and goats were kept near a clinic as a pastime for patients. "But shortly after the Wall fell, the park was closed," Voigt says. "Someone was probably just trying to incite people."

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