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Neo-Nazi stabbing shows western German ills

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It is not just eastern Germany that has a problem fighting far-right militants.

The stabbing of a German police chief on his doorstep in southern Germany, which prosecutors suspect is a revenge attack by neo-Nazis angry about a crackdown on their activities, has exposed the uncomfortable reality that western Germany has troubles of its own.

The attack has shocked Germany and rekindled a fierce debate about how to tackle neo-Nazis and whether to ban the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD).

But most of all, it exposes as a myth the belief many western Germans cling to — that the far-right is a problem confined mainly to former Communist eastern states where unemployment is high and young men are lured into the far-right scene due to a lack of any other prospects.

The assault on the police man took place in Passau, a picturesque city in Bavaria, the rich, southern state which Chancellor Angela Merkel has described as a model for Germany.

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