Muslim refugees claim racism in Germany is so extreme they want to GO HOME
Germany has been gripped by a spate of anti-Muslim rallies and violence
Nation has seen record numbers of asylum seekers this year fleeing Syria
One refugee said racist attacks left him so scared he plans to return home
Refugees from war-torn Syria claim racism in Germany has become so extreme they want to go home as a growing anti-Muslim movement sees soaring attacks on foreigners.
The nation has been gripped by a spate of anti-foreigners rallies, violence and arson attacks against refugee homes or would-be shelters as hundreds of thousands seek refuge in the country.
This year has already seen about 200 arson and other attacks against refugee housing while support for anti-Muslim movement, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), has been growing.
The growing tensions between citizens and refugees mean some asylum seekers are so scared of attacks they are considering going home.
Taher arrived in Germany a month ago, risking his life to fleeing the atrocities of war-torn Syria and making the long, difficult journey across the Mediterranean.
But in a shocking admission, the 27-year-old said he had already been attacked by a gang, who piled out of a car and hit him, and has had enough of the xenophobia he has experienced in Germany.
‘I want to return to Syria – very afraid here,’ he said in broken English this week, speaking outside a refugee centre in the small eastern town of Freital, which has gained national notoriety for ugly protests against asylum seekers.
He also showed a letter, written in German and Arabic, showing he had withdrawn his application for political asylum.
‘I come from Syria because I was afraid – but here big afraid,’ said Taher, who did not want to give his full name, speaking in halting English.
Germany is currently struggling to cope with a record influx of refugees with 500,000 expected this year, fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, African nations and recession-stricken Balkan countries.
The country has a generous asylum system originally meant to help atone for its Nazi past which has opened the gates to Europe’s biggest influx of refugees – sparking ugly reactions that recall Germany’s darkest days.
At the end of last year, Chancellor Angela Merkel was forced to call on Germans to turn their backs on the growing anti-Muslim movement which she condemned as racist and full of hatred, and said Europe’s biggest economy must welcome people fleeing conflict and war.
But that hasn’t stopped rapid growing support for PEGIDA’s marches where rallies peaked early this year at 25,000.
Refugees from war-torn Syria claim racism in Germany is so extreme they want to GO HOME as growing unrest and anti-Muslim feeling sees attacks on foreigners soar
Leading the charge in Freital, near Dresden, is one of PEGIDA’s clone groups, which goes by the localised acronym of FRIGIDA and pledges online that ‘our town will stay clean – Freital is free’.
The small town, in what was once communist East Germany, has become a symbol of the upsurge in hostility and has seen shouting matches and clashes between pro- and anti-asylum activists since June.
This week, tensions escalated when unknown assailants blew up the unoccupied car of a pro-refugee politician of the far-left Linke party, Michael Richter.
The Die Linke parliamentary group released a statement after the bombing in front of Mr Richter’s home which said: ‘The rule of law cannot stand idly by the increasing violence against refugees and against people like Michael Richter, who take a stand for the well-being of refugees.’
A spokesman for the group added that the politician had often been threatened for his work, by far right or racist groups.
‘The situation is becoming increasingly tense… Freital is deeply divided,’ said Steffi Brachtel, 40, who helps organise anti-FRIGIDA rallies.
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