Over 300 Christians Assaulted by Muslims at Refugee Camps in Germany, Report Reveals

German Authorities Accused of Covering Up Attacks
(Photo: Reuters/Fabian Bimmer)Migrants walk in front of tents in a refugee camp in Celle, Lower-Saxony, October 15, 2015. With the approach of winter, authorities are scrambling to find warm places to stay for the thousands of refugees streaming into Germany every day. In desperation, they have turned to sports halls, youth hostels and empty office buildings. But as these options dry up, tent cities have become the fall-back plan: despite falling temperatures, a survey by German newspaper Die Welt showed at least 42,000 refugees were still living in tents.

There have been over 300 incidents of Christians being physically or sexually assaulted by Muslims in refugee camps in Germany, while thousands of other Christians are facing persecution in many different ways, a report has warned.

The German-language report "Religiously Motivated Attacks on Christian Refugees in Germany," produced by the German branch of persecution watchdog group Open Doors, was released last week, though the The Gatestone Institute provided an analysis on Sunday which broke down the numbers and figures.

The report warns that German authorities and police might be purposefully downplaying such incidents in order to avoid the "taboo" topic of Muslims attacking Christian refugees, keeping in mind the growing anti-immigration sentiments in the country.

Open Doors' study, based on interviews with 231 Christian refugees conducted between February and April, found that at least 86 Christians reported to have been physically assaulted by Muslim refugees or shelter security staff, and another 70 had received death threats for their faith.

(Photo: Reuters/Fabian Bimmer)Migrants from Syria sit in their tent in a refugee camp in Celle, Lower-Saxony, Germany, October 15, 2015. With the approach of winter, authorities are scrambling to find warm places to stay for the thousands of refugees streaming into Germany every day. In desperation, they have turned to sports halls, youth hostels and empty office buildings. But as these options dry up, tent cities have become the fall-back plan: despite falling temperatures, a survey by German newspaper Die Welt showed at least 42,000 refugees were still living in tents.

A number of others were subjected to "punches, spitting, pushing and sexual abuse," and as many as 75 percent of respondents said harassment from Muslims is a "frequent" problem.

Well over a million refugees were welcomed in by Germany in 2015, many of them fleeing the civil war in Syria. Christians are among the majority Muslim refugees, but they have generally been afforded little protection and are forced to live next to the Muslims despite reported dangers.

The report by Open Doors featured several accounts of Christians describing the abuse and hardships they have faced.

One witness said: "In our refugee shelter, the security guards do not enforce the rules. Every morning at 5 a.m. 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."

Open Doors, which has been calling for the international community to offer more help for minority refugees, said it is "alarming" that German authorities are doing little to protect Christians.

"Despite 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," the watchdog group said.

"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," it added.

There have been a number of different reports in the past several months documenting Christian persecution in Muslim-dominated refugee camps in Germany beside the Open Doors report. Back in October 2015, a recent convert to Christianity at a camp in Hamburg-Eidelstedt was beaten nearly to death by Muslim refugees, before he was saved by other migrants.

Church of England leaders in the U.K. have also warned that Western policies at refugee camps might overlook the protection that Christians need.

"As countries like the U.K. debate how to deal with the refugee crisis, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that their policy will discriminate against Christians. The policy takes those who are in camps, but many Christians fearing discriminant, violence, and intimidation have not been willing to enter formal camps that are largely populated by Sunni Muslims," International Christian Concern said in a statement at the time.