Christians still experience persecution in German refugee shelters

A Pakistan migrant talks to journalists outside this refugee shelter in Ansbach, Germany, July 25, 2016. | REUTERS/Erik Kirschbaum

Christians and other religious minorities in German refugee shelters are still persecuted by their neighbors because of their faith.

According to the study by persecution watchdog group Open Doors Germany, a total of 743 Christians and 10 Yazidis have been victimized in religiously motivated attacks between Feb. 15 and Sept. 30.

Open Doors and other German NGOs now asked Chancellor Angela Merkel to end the practice of mixing Christians and Muslims together in refugee centers, World Watch Monitor reported.

"We have underestimated the role of religion," said Home Secretary Thomas de Maizière at the Future Conference on Integration and Migration last September. He realized that the importance of religion and faith has not diminished worldwide.

The study revealed that 83 percent of the 743 affected Christians suffered multiple attacks. About 42 percent reported receiving death threats. Fifty-six percent said they were attacked violently while 6 percent had been sexually assaulted.

Ninety-one percent of those who were attacked said that it was committed by fellow refugees who were Muslims. Twenty-eight percent blamed Muslim guards while 34 percent said that it was committed by "other parties."

Those who have fled their home countries because of religious persecution are disappointed that they are experiencing the same kind of abuse in Germany.

According to World Watch Monitor, one refugee was distressed after he saw the words written on the wall at the shelter where he is staying which said, "The time has come to cut off the heads of all non-believers!"

"I was shocked! In Iran this may happen, but I never expected such a thing to happen in Germany. This has shattered my trust," he said.

Open Doors and the other NGOs published a report about attacks directed against religious minorities back in May but nothing has been done to give them better protection.

The NGOs are urging the government to provide separate accommodations for Christians and other religious minorities. The groups also suggested increasing non-Muslim security staff in refugee shelters.