persecuted by Muslims
by Soeren Kern
of Christians in German refugee shelters are being persecuted by Muslims,
sometimes even by their security guards, according to a new report, which
asserts that in most cases German authorities have done nothing to protect the
study alleges that German authorities and police have deliberately downplayed
and even covered up the “taboo issue” of Muslim attacks on Christian refugees,
apparently to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments.
report, “Religiously Motivated Attacks on Christian Refugees in Germany” (Religiös
motivierte Übergriffe gegen christliche Flüchtlinge in Deutschland), was
produced by the German branch of Open Doors, a non-governmental organization
supporting persecuted Christians, worldwide.
study — which confirms a Gatestone Institute analysis about Muslim-Christian
violence in German refugee shelters — documents more than 300 incidents in
which Christian refugees in Germany have been physically and sexually
assaulted, and even threatened with death, because of their faith.
report is based on the interviews of 231 Christian refugees conducted between
February and April 2016. More than 80% of those interviewed were male and more
than half were younger than 30. Most of those questioned came from Iran,
Afghanistan and Syria. Nine out of ten of those participating in the survey
were Christians with a Muslim background. Of these, the majority had already
converted to Christianity in their home countries.
those interviewed, 86 said they had been physically assaulted at the hands of
Muslim refugees and shelter security staff, many of whom are also Muslim. More
than 70 said they had received death threats, 92 had been insulted for their
Christian faith and 62 had been subjected to “very loud religious music or
prayer,” presumably of the Islamic variety. Others said they had been subjected
to physical attacks in the form of punches, spitting, pushing and sexual abuse.
Around 75% of those interviewed said that harassment from Muslims is a
to Open Doors, the report “only shows the tip of the iceberg” because “many
Christian refugees are frightened of facing more difficulties if they report
incidents.” Others fear that “the information could get into the wrong hands
and cause danger for relatives still living in their home countries.” The
major obstacle to the survey was that many victims were afraid to participate.
They feared negative consequences in the event that their personal information
were to fall into the wrong hands. Their concern was not only on the possible
consequences for them personally and for their families in Germany, but also
for their relatives who continue to live in the countries of origin.
major obstacle was that many women are reluctant to report sexual assaults
because of feelings of shame which are often more pronounced among Middle
Eastern women than those in the West.
make matters worse, many refugees have had negative experiences with the
authorities and police in their countries of origin because of their Christian
faith. They are used to being treated as second-class citizens. Now they see
that things are no different in many refugee shelters in Germany — a country
with freedom of religion — and they [have] not even once received help.
report includes testimonies from Christian refugees who describe a “constant
climate of fear and panic” in German shelters:
- “I came to Germany after fleeing my own country in the hope my life would be safer in the face of growing dangers. But in Germany I’ve been threatened more.”
- “At this point I must say that I really did not know that by coming to Germany, and only because of my faith, that I would be harassed here as much as in Iran.”
- “The Muslims paint crosses and underline them with an X to insult us. They throw their garbage in front of our door. They listen to the adhan (Muslim call to prayer) and the reading of the Koran at high volume. We had to abandon our last refugee shelter because of death threats.”
- “In our refugee shelter, the security guards do not enforce the rules. Every morning at 5AM we are woken up to the sound of the adhan. The situation is getting worse. When you complain, they say this is the Muslims’ right. Also, they insult us with impunity. In our shelter, two of my friends have received death threats. Muslims tore a cross chain from his neck. None of us dares to wear a cross anymore.”
- "When we collect our welfare stipend, we are pushed to the end of the line. Also in the kitchen, we are the last to eat. After midnight, when we are asleep, they knock on the window and we can no longer go back to sleep because of fear. And the next day during language classes we cannot learn well. Muslims call us mortad (apostates) and steal from the kitchen. They have stolen so much of our food that every room now has a refrigerator.”
- "I was insulted and physically assaulted by Muslims in our shelter several times. Every time the police had to intervene. The memory of these incidents still weighs on me and I have serious psychological problems, I even attempted to commit suicide. Security guards have insulted our religion and attacked us. I testified as a witness to police. After receiving death threats, we went to police with our pastor and filed a complaint.”
report includes an account from Gottfried Martens, a pastor in Berlin, who
describes incidents of Muslim harassment that occurred in early May — incidents
which the police have still not bothered to investigate:
Christian couple from Iran was increasingly being bullied by the Afghan leader
of an asylum shelter in Berlin. As ‘infidels’ they were not given a bed and
were forced to sleep on the floor for months. It finally got to the point that
the Afghan devastated their sleeping area and personally destroyed their
Christian objects (Easter candle, Bible, parish newsletter).
Christian was harassed by Muslim refugees who chanted the Koran around the
clock because of his conversion. Yesterday evening, he tried to kill himself
with a razor blade. Fortunately, he was rescued in time.
ago we had to accommodate eight refugees from another shelter. They were
threatened with death because they refused to participate in the Muslim ritual
prayer in the gymnasium. When the security guards were called for help, they
joined together in prayer with those who had threatened the Christians. When
the Christians fled the hall as the Muslims were shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’
[Allah is Greatest], the Muslim security guards banned them from the shelter on
the grounds that the Christians had attacked the Muslims.”
to Open Doors:
alarming that Christian refugees and other religious minorities increasingly
are facing the same persecution and discrimination as in their Muslim countries
of origin, and not even in Germany can they get the expected protection.
increased reports about this problem by the media, charities, human rights
organizations, church leaders and Christian organizations, German authorities
and politicians have hardly ever launched an investigation. Instead, we believe
that incidents are deliberately downplayed and even covered up. During
confidential discussions with researchers from Open Doors, it has become known
that even in police stations, religiously motivated attacks on Christian
refugees are not documented as such.”
result, many cases of sectarian violence are not statistically recognized and
are not classified correctly in terms of their severity and frequency. This
means that a large number of religious-related human rights violations against
Christians and other religious minorities are treated as irrelevant.
report concludes with a number of recommendations for the German government to
help ease the burden on Christian refugees:
- The religious affiliation of all migrants should be recorded at the very beginning of the process of registering refugees and that data should be forwarded throughout the process of assigning refugees to accommodations.
- Religious minorities should be pooled so that the percentage of Christians and other religious minorities in relation to Muslims in refugee shelters is approximately equal.
- Christians and other religious minorities who are victims of persecution and discrimination should be separately accommodated.
- The non-Muslim component within the ranks of the security personnel should be increased.
- Employees and the security staff in refugee shelters should receive regular sensitivity training regarding the causes of religious conflict and the protection of religious minorities.
- Persecuted Christians should be provided with a list of the names of other Christians to whom they can call upon for help. ...
a press conference marking the release of the Open Doors report, Volker
Baumann, director of a group called Action for Persecuted Christians and the
Needy (AVC), said that up to 40,000 refugees in German shelters are being
persecuted due to their religious beliefs.
to Gottfried Martens, the pastor from Berlin, the German government has lost
control over the situation. In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung, he said that most Christians who are being persecuted in German
shelters dare not file a formal complaint due to fears for their own safety. In
those cases where complaints are filed, Muslims file counter-complaints.
Moreover, it is hardly ever possible irrefutably to prove incidents of
harassment. Thus the vast majority of refugees decide not to complain in order
not to aggravate their situation.
Müller, an analyst with Open Doors Deutschland, concluded:
refugees from many different countries are trying and failing to find safety in
Europe and it is likely that the report only shows the tip of the iceberg. It
is clear that many Christian refugees — especially those who are converts to
the Christian faith — live in fear of persecution from Muslim refugees who make
up the majority of residents in the refugee hostels set up throughout Europe.
It is sobering to hear persecuted Christians telling a Western country that
they recognize the very same persecution patterns in operation as in their home
Soeren Kern is
a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone
Institute. This article was first published on the Gatestone
Institute website www.gatestoneinstitue.org