A failed asylum seeker from Afghanistan, who fatally stabbed a police officer and injured five others at an anti-Islamification rally, has ignited a heated debate on migration in Germany just before the European Parliament elections.

Sulaiman A., the attacker, arrived in Germany in 2013 and had his asylum request denied in 2014, but was not deported. He later received temporary residency after fathering a child with a German woman. Since 2020, he showed signs of radicalization, growing a beard and posting jihadist content online, including the words of Ahmad Zahir Aslamiyar.

The attack in Mannheim, captured on social media, has brought immigration issues to the forefront. Public concern over immigration had already been high, with a recent survey showing it as one of the top issues for 41% of Germans.

The incident may bolster support for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, known for its anti-immigration stance, as mainstream parties like the SPD and CDU scramble to address deportation policies. SPD’s Andy Grote has proposed deporting foreign criminals regardless of their home country’s safety, gaining support from SPD Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and CDU General Secretary Carsten Linnemann.

Critics argue that the political and media focus has been misplaced, emphasizing trivial matters over serious security threats like the Mannheim attack. FDP’s Wolfgang Kubicki emphasized the severity of the situation, calling for swift action against threats to public safety.