Persecution Continues in Germany for Christian Refugees

Christian refugees left their homes to escape persecution — but where they'd hoped they'd find rest they found more of the same.

In this Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015 photo, Delphine Qasu, 18, a Yazidi refugee from Sinjar, Iraq, rests her head on her father's shoulder after she and the rest of the family arrived on a train coming from Freilassing, at a resting point in Mannheim, Germany.

By Nancy Flory Published on October 22, 2016

A new survey shows that Christian and Yazidi refugees still face persecution by other refugees and guards at the relief centers and camps, reported Fox News. Open Doors Germany conducted a survey of refugees in German refugee shelters and found that at least 743 religiously motivated attacks occurred. There are likely more since Open Doors found that only 17 percent of respondents went to the police with complaints, either because they were afraid of retribution or because nothing had been done about past complaints.

Open Doors official Emily Fuentes said the results were not expected, since “[w]e normally monitor and rank countries where these incidents occur and typically Western countries do not make the list.”

The survey, conducted in camps near Berlin, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia between February, 2016 and September, 2016, showed that there is a “general lack of protection,” for religious minorities, who suffer persecution in the form of sexual assaults, death threats, insults, discrimination or psychological abuse. Fuentes said that the victims were denied food, or had food stolen from them, were pushed out of the food lines by other refugees and endured verbal abuse daily. A third of the victims stated that the persecution and violence came at the hands of Muslim guards.

The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), whose leader is Angela Merkel, filed a proposal with the Thuringia state parliament titled “Strengthening interreligious competence and tolerance — protecting Christian values and ostracizing and punishing anti-Christian violence,” at the end of September, 2016. The proposal sought to document the “religiously motivated attacks against Christians/anti-Christian motivated crimes,” and to require interreligious competence in national regulations for security companies. Another proposal by AfD (Alternative for Germany) titled “Protecting religious freedom — preventing violence on Christian asylum seekers” was filed in April, 2016. Neither proposal won a majority in parliament and were thereby rejected.

Further, the Bavarian Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs, Family Affairs and Integration, in a September 20 letter to Open Doors, effectively stated that they expected refugees to just get along:

Special accommodations for Christian asylum seekers do not exist. It is furthermore expected that all who are seeking protection, regardless of their religion, origin and sexual orientation, will be living together peacefully.

In some cases, to keep the peace, the Christian victims are kicked out of the camp. Berlin pastor Dr. Gottfried Martens supervises over 1,000 Christian refugees and reported that “Lately we are experiencing an increase in the banning of Christian asylum seekers because they are apparently disturbing the pleasant cohabitation in the refugee centres. The six Christians who were attacked in Tempelhof got kicked out of their accommodation by the security service just a few days after the incident. That is also one way to make sure the accommodation stays peaceful.”

Some Christians are at greater risk of persecution than others. Muslims consider apostasy — leaving Islam — a crime punishable by death. Over 50 percent of the Christians polled claimed that they were converts from Islam to Christianity. One Syrian Christian woman tells a chilling story of receiving a death threat:

A Macedonian woman attacked me with a knife, insulting me and shouting: ‘You are not allowed to come into the kitchen or cook here, because you are a disgusting, pork eating Christian infidel. It is forbidden for you to enter the kitchen and if see you here once more then I will stab you to death.’

Fuentes said that she hopes the Open Doors survey — the most comprehensive of its kind — will bring awareness to the mounting issue of Christian persecution within the refugee camps. “We hope this puts pressure on the German government to address what is going on within their borders,” she said. “We want to ensure that they are protected. This is actually happening. They need your help.”

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