Ikea fires German manager for neo-Nazi Facebook 'friends'

23rd November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The German unit of Swedish furniture giant Ikea said Wednesday it had fired a manager with right-wing extremist "friends" on Facebook for expressing offensive opinions on the social networking site.

A spokeswoman for the German subsidiary told AFP that it had learned that the staff member had links on Facebook to members of the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD).

"IKEA received a tip that an employee in a managerial position in our store in Wallau (western Germany) expressed opinions and views on Facebook that are in no way compatible with our values," she added in an emailed message.

"That is why we, after an extensive review, decided to take action in the case at hand and will no longer work with the staff member in question."

Local press reports said that the employee, who was not named, had contacts on Facebook with NPD leaders in Berlin and the western Saarland region and swapped "extremist remarks" on the website.

Ikea said it took such allegations seriously.

"Cultural and religious diversity are values that form the foundation of our daily co-existence," the spokeswoman said. "We can never accept these Ikea values not being respected in everyday working life."

Germany was rocked this month by revelations that a far-right cell was now believed to be behind the unsolved murders of at least 10 victims, most of them shopkeepers of Turkish origin, over the course of a decade.

The scandal has sparked allegations that the country may have turned a blind eye to the threat posed by right-wing extremism, despite Germany's deep-seated shame over its Nazi past.

And it has revived calls by political leaders including Chancellor Angela Merkel to examine a potential ban of the NPD, following an attempt that was struck down by Germany's constitutional court in 2003.

© 2011 AFP

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