Intimidated Christians in German refugee centres seek government protection


German authorities have been urged to protect Christians and other non-Muslim migrants in refugee centres immediately as a new survey reveals that up to 40,000 non-Muslim migrants are being routinely harassed because of their faith. The survey aims to show the German people and the authorities that harassment and intimidation are truly happening inside the refugee centres and that an urgent solution is needed to provide Christians and other non-Muslims in these centres with separate housing and non-Muslim guards.

Survey results indicate that the majority of Christian and other non-Muslim migrants in Germany are living in ”fear and panic” because they are being persecuted by fellow refugees and even security staff.  There have been physical attacks against Christians in the form of “punches, spitting, pushing and sexual abuse.” A pastor in Berlin also reported that Christian refugees are even being forced to take part in Islamic prayer and threatened with harm if they refuse to comply.  Ironically, the culprits are their Muslim fellow countrymen who also fled from the war-torn countries of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet government officials have deliberately remained silent, leaving it to sympathetic police officers to make the issue public through reports by activist groups. “We’re doing this on behalf of many volunteers who feel intimidated, as well as at the request of the police, who aren’t allowed to say that this is happening,” Markus Rode, head of the German-based organisation Open Doors told a German newspaper. A statement issued by the organisation said: “Our political leaders have not taken appropriate measures to protect the Christian minority. The impression that this dramatic development is being suppressed and ignored has solidified.”

Interviews conducted with 231 individuals over the past two months revealed the following:

  • 96 refugees said they were the target of regular insults;
  • 86 refugees claim to have been physically injured because of their faith;
  • 73 refugees said they or family members faced death threats;

88% of those surveyed said they’d been targeted by other migrants because of their religion. A large percentage of the respondents also accused prison guards of discriminating against religious minorities or harassing them. The vast majority (80%) saw a need for separate accommodation for Christians and Muslims. Others suggest the need for seminars to be held for all refugees on German law, rights and the freedom of religion. Further suggestions included the need for special training for security staff at the asylum centres and hostels to be able to cope with conflicts caused by religious differences. 

The survey—which documented violence against Christians fleeing war-torn countries like Iraq, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan—was conducted in cooperation with ACN, the Action on Behalf of Persecuted Christians and the Needy, and the Central Council for Oriental Christians in Germany.

In 2015, more than a million migrants, mostly Muslim men from North Africa and the Middle East, entered Germany. In January 2016, the country took in a total of 91,671 migrants—an average of around 3,000 migrants each day.