Anti-'Illegals' Sign (A Jones/Flickr. 2014. CC BY-ND 2.0)

According to police reports and witness testimony, on December 31st, 2015, 1,000 drunk men of North African or Arab descent gathered at the city center and train station of Cologne, Germany. From there, they gathered into smaller groups, surrounded women and began to threaten and attack them. Initially, there were approximately 90 complaints from women in the area but this number has quickly risen to almost 900 reports, of which 500 are sexual assault complaints. In the wake of the arrival of over 1 million refugees into Germany, the initial blame of these attacks has fallen on these new populations.

Based on the unclear media coverage of the attack, it would appear that the blaming of refugees for the events comes from right wing, anti-migrant groups who used the opportunity to call Angela Merkel’s immigration policies into question. Since the attacks, Germany has witnessed multiple anti-migrant protests, many sporting signs with slogans such as “Rapefugees not welcome here”. There have also been several violent attacks on people of non-native appearance, namely Syrians and Palestinians.

Tanja, an activist who organized counter protest outside ‘Multi Kulti’ centre in Cologne (Photo from Twitter)
Tanja, an activist who organized counter protest outside ‘Multi Kulti’ centre in Cologne (Photo from Twitter)

As a result of the rise of xenophobic rhetoric amongst Germans, many leaders have spoken about the consequences for the actions of the assaulters. A large issue is that of deportation of asylum seekers. As the law currently stands, asylum seekers can be deported if they are sentenced to 1 or more years in prison. Some politicians are seeking to lower this threshold to include conviction for sexual or physical assault and resisting police officers.

Others also seek to toughen asylum policies by deeming Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia “safe countries of origin” and lessening the chance of people from these countries to be granted asylum. Other proposals include blocking some migrants from bringing their families into the country for two years.

Despite these consequences, the European Commission (the executive body of the European Union) has since stated that there is no link between the migration crisis and the attacks on women in Germany. The lack of support provided by news and police reports support this claim. Both eyewitness and police testimonies state that the attackers were drunk. However, the majority of refugee men, especially from Syria would not have been likely to be intoxicated because of their religious beliefs. This fact has been largely left out of media reports. It is also impossible to place all blame on the refugee population because of the wide range of countries of origin in the apprehended men thus far. As stated, initial police reports suggested that the attackers were of North African or Arab appearance. However, in a report released on January 7th, police identified 18 of 31 suspects as asylum seekers. In general, nine were Algerian, eight Moroccan, five Iranian, four Syrian, two German, in addition to an Iraqi, a Serb, and a U.S. citizen. These facts, along with the other reports of similar events in cities like Hamburg and Zurich, suggest that the attacks were coordinated, perhaps by someone who wanted to undermine the refugee population and destabilize Germany.

Cologne-Attacks-Thumb02The reaction of the German people was appropriate to the information they were given by police and media reports. The vague description of “North African and Arab” men would obviously lend itself to suspicion of the refugee population and play into the fears of the public. Despite this misleading information, the general government response has been relatively appropriate. Few leaders have proposed a reduction of refugee intake beyond what had been voiced before December 31st, and discussion of deportation laws and asylum restrictions are valid given the new challenges and issues presented by the current state of Germany. It is likely that these propositions would have been made without the New Year’s Eve attacks.

Hopefully reports continue to surface and clear up the remaining questions surrounding the attacks, the criminals are punished, and the blame is removed from the refugee population so that integration and education can continue unimpeded by bigotry and intolerance.

 


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Chicago Monitor’s editorial policy.


11 COMMENTS

  1. Violence as the outcome of policy can only be regarded as a catastrophic failure of policy. The flaws of an idea will be reflected in the failures of the policies conceived on those flawed ideas.
    Whether it’s the sexual predation of women in the streets, or the reciprocal violence against migrants, these acts of violence can only be seen as catastrophic failures of policy. In this case, immigration policy.
    It is my opinion that moral/cultural relativism and multiculturalism are deeply flawed or incomplete ideas…and that when forming the basis of a mass immigration policy manifest violence.
    I have become very skeptical of these ideas and the people who espouse them. They’re usually very good and moral people…who just happen to be incorrect.

  2. ” suggest that the attacks were coordinated, perhaps by someone who wanted to undermine the refugee population and destabilize Germany.”

    What???? What evidence do you have to make such a suggestion?

  3. You know, it’s funny how the media and Liberals keep referring to these people as “immigrants”. Please stop, and call them what they are, “invaders”. An immigrant is someone who moves to another location/country willingly and adopts that country’s and it’s people’s, laws, customs, and way of life – this IS NOT the case with these refugee “invaders”!
    These invaders are moving and spreading THEIR beliefs, laws, and customs INTO whatever country they move. Not the other way around.

    Other countries are falling into the same fallacy of viewing these people as simple friendly “immigrant” refugees seeking safety from oppression – while at the same time, these invaders insist on the HOST country accepting THEIR values, laws, and lifestyles!

    The solution?
    This is an ugly problem that has been ongoing for generations, which has no “pretty” solution, but there is most definitely a SAFER one.

    As has been proposed by several normal thinking individuals, minus the emotional or political motivations – have a coalition of allies set and maintain a Safe Zone of land in their OWN countries – subsidized by their wealthy Middle-East neighbors. Train these hundreds of thousands of young able-bodied men to fight for their OWN country!
    That’s IF they actually want to save their OWN homeland! Or do they?
    Why would SO many healthy able-bodied strong young men just turn tail and leave their country without fighting for it?
    So either – they don’t feel it’s worth fighting for, OR they are knowingly and systematically leaving to INVADE other countries.
    Take your pick – This mass INVASION needs to stop!

    Either they enter a country and ADOPT ITS laws, customs, language, and people, OR they stay in their OWN country and fight for it!!

  4. > However, the majority of refugee men, especially from Syria would not have been likely to be intoxicated because of their religious beliefs.

    This is a weird way of reasoning: unless one thinks that the tharrush gamea is part of their religiuous beliefs it is obviuos that people that have no problem in attacking women have also no problem in getting drunk….

  5. ‘Would not be intoxicated because of their religious believes’ Megan, are you kidding me? What kind of fairy tale journalism is that. According to this logic, they can’t be Muslim at all, because their religious believes forbid to touch women… what a complete nonsense are you writing

  6. Megan,

    The reports that the majority of the assaults were by men of “North African or Arab” origin came from the Cologne police. At present, 30 perpetrators have been detained, 22 of whom are asylum seekers. During the assaults, the overwhelmed police did detain a number of the perpetrators. The Cologne police report that most had only asylum-seeker papers to identify themselves. Several woman have gone public, and several of their interviews are on Youtube. They uniformly describe their attackes as arab or North African. They note the men did not speak German, but Arabic.

    You are not reporting the news. You are giving your opinions based on what you wish the news to be. This is not how they teach us to write in journalism school.

    Regards.

  7. Germany: a society in the closet

    Dr Qaisar Rashid
    February 03, 2016

    Just a month ago, on the eve of New Year, news started coming in from Cologne, Germany, on how the refugees and asylum seekers of North African and Arab origin (mostly from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) had groped and sexually assaulted more than 100 German women in the city centre outside the central railway station of Haupt Bahnhof and in front of a church. Reportedly, more than 1,000 people had gathered there to celebrate New Year. The news was followed by an eruption of anti-foreigner sentiment. Right-wing Germans took to the streets and protested fanatically against the open door, pro-refugee policy of German Chancellor Angela Markel. A hate campaign was launched in the media. Damage was done to the reputation of the foreigners of non-German origin, especially Muslims, who are now derided across Europe under the slogan ‘Rape of Europe’.

    On January 18, on the incident, the UK-based daily, The Guardian, reported that “838 people have so far filed criminal complaints, including 497 women alleging sexual assault. Some of the victims have jointly filed a single complaint, so that the number of alleged crimes stands at 766, of which 381 are sexual offences, including three rapes.” The daily further reports that “the number of people accused of committing crime in Cologne on New Year’s eve now stand at 21, of whom eight are in detention.” Consequently, the sentiments of people around the world have been stirred pathologically against the refugees and asylum seekers who happen to be Muslims. More cases of sexual assaults were excavated from across Europe to reinforce the notion of the rape of Europe. Interestingly, not even a single German newspaper has come up with the perspective of those who have been blamed. Only the version of those who claimed to have been sexually assaulted was aired. Clearly, the German media cannot be free of anti-foreigner bias, which has made news coming from Germany unreliable.

    Anyone who has visited Cologne bears witness to the fact that CCTV cameras are in place in abundance in both the train station and the city centre. At the time of the incident, neither was there an electricity blackout nor were fireworks taking place in the dark. The damage was done but where is the evidence? Interviews of women (who claim that they were the victims) have been aired. They have even given lurid details of the happening. What stops them from identifying the culprits? One month has passed since the incident took place but where is the progress on the case?

    Private bulletins are also coming in from Germany that right-wing Germans used women to meet their objectives. This is just the beginning. Other European countries have yet to follow suit.

    On January 13, Peter Tauber, general secretary of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) — the party of Angela Merkel — told a newspaper, The Rheinische Post, “There must be zero tolerance for those who come to Germany and commit crimes or fail to integrate.” In his statement, Tauber implied that foreigners (or immigrants) coming to Germany would commit crimes. Interestingly, Tauber did not bother to mention what the tolerance level of the government was for those Germans who were habitual in committing crimes against foreigners visiting Germany. Tauber needs a reality check.

    The total population of Germany is about 80 million and Germany is the largest economy in Europe. As per the 2015 report of the Confederation of European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI), in 2014, the bicycle production share of Germany in the European Union (EU) was 18 percent, just second to Italy’s share of 23 percent. The same report also mentions that the share of Germany in bicycle parts and accessories production was 17 percent, just second to Italy’s share of 30 percent. Furthermore, the annual sales of bicycles, bicycle parts and their components were between four billion and five billion euros. Moreover, in 2014, the number of bicycle users in Germany was about 72 million. Against this background of high production and utility, Germany must be a country of lowest incidence of bike stealing. This is not the case. In fact, Germany is the country having the highest incidence of bike stealing.

    In a news item published on July 14, 2015, in a German newspaper in English, The Local, in 2014, 340,000 bikes were stolen in Germany. Under the title ‘Bike theft spinning out of control across Germany’, the same news item mentioned that “around 23,000 more bikes were stolen in 2014 than in 2013”. Was this also done by foreigners? These stolen bikes are resold and bought in Germany not by foreigners but by Germans themselves. Buying a stolen bike is a crime and the thief may spend up to 10 years in prison, in accordance with Section 243 of German Criminal Law. Even then the stealing and buying of such bicycles takes place. A German uses three locks (one for the front tyre, one for the back tyre and one for the main frame of the bicycle) to secure a bicycle and commonly takes the seat along with him or her. Despite that the bicycle is stolen. Such is the resilient habit of stealing in German society.

    When the citizens of a country, which is otherwise self-sufficient economically and which is one of the major producers and users of bicycles (where bicycles should be lying in waste owing to abundance), steal bicycles belonging to one another, it means that that society has a sickness somewhere.

  8. New Year troubles in Cologne

    Dr Qaisar Rashid
    February 10, 2016

    Cologne, a city in Germany, is now known in the world for sexual attacks on women committed by immigrants or asylum seekers from Middle Eastern countries on the eve of the New Year’s celebrations. It is said that the local police and city administration tried to play down the issue but social media, especially Facebook, frustrated their efforts and exposed it.

    The situation is interesting and raises certain questions. For instance, can the comments posted on Facebook and any other social media forums be taken as evidence? Similarly, if social media of any sort is offered as a source of sharing information to the locals, why can the same tool not be offered to the refugees and asylum seekers to inform the German government (and the world) of their version? It is no justice to let one group assert a point of view while depriving the other group of explaining its position. The same opportunities of resorting to social media should be offered to the refugees and asylum seekers as well to make counter-comments; only then can one draw a conclusion. Just allegations are not enough.

    On October 31, 2015, two months before the New Year celebrations in Cologne, Melanie Hall reported from Berlin to a UK-based newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, “A man has confessed to murdering and sexually abusing a four-year-old migrant boy who went missing from a refugee registration centre in Germany. The body of Bosnian boy Mohamed Januzi was found in the boot of a car on Thursday after he was last seen being led away by a man from a registration centre for refugees in Berlin earlier in October. The 32-year-old suspect, named Silvio S under German privacy laws, has also admitted to killing another young boy who went missing from the German town of Potsdam, near Berlin, in July.” Against this background, the question is simple: why did social media in Germany remain silent on this offence? There might be other such crimes against immigrants and asylum seekers that were never reported, as these displaced people look for the mercy of the locals and try not to offend them or invite their ire.

    On February 1, 2016, one month after the New Year celebrations in Cologne, Nadine Schmidt reported from Berlin and Tim Hume reported (online) from London for CNN: “A Berlin teen admits fabricating migrant gang-rape story, official says”. It was further reported: “A Berlin teen who claimed to have been abducted and gang-raped by migrants, sparking angry protests and an international row with Russia, has admitted making up the story and was found to have been staying with a German man instead, an official said Monday. The 13-year-old girl — a member of Berlin’s Russian-speaking community — made the rape claim to police when she returned after a 30-hour absence last month. She alleged that three men of Arabic and Turkish descent had dragged her into a car at a train station and abused her. Stories of the girl’s ordeal circulated in Russian media and on social networks, prompting street demonstrations by Russian-German communities and right-wing groups.” Furthermore, “The Berlin prosecutor’s office spokesman Martin Steltner said the girl withdrew her claim after a medical examination showed that she had not been raped.” This event tells the reader that immigrants and asylum seekers are vulnerable. They can be suspected of a crime and maligned. Where are the social media activists? What is the reparation for those who were falsely implicated and got their reputation blotted for no reason? Are immigrants and asylum seekers lesser human beings?

    Social media has one strength: it makes people interact with each other. However, the curse of social media is that it allows interlocutors to hide their identities. Even in the newly surfaced trend of the electronic version of newspapers, where anyone can post a comment under a fake identity, a new kind of information is surfacing. The feelings lying hidden in society are being dredged up.

    On January 10, 2016, Melanie Hall reported from Berlin, published in a UK daily, The Daily Telegraph, “Hitler’s Mein Kampf sells out instantly after being published in Germany for the first time in 70 years.” Then, the “demand for the 2,000-page annotated version of the inflammatory text that hit bookstores on January 8 massively exceeded supply, with 15,000 advance orders for an initial print run of just 4,000 copies. One copy of the edition, which costs £ 43 (59 euros), was even reportedly put up for resale on Amazon.de for £ 7,521.43 (9,999.99 euros).” The question is why. Before the police could conclude its investigation on the New Year incidents in Cologne, why has society taken this turn? Why is there no need to let the police first charge the alleged culprits and then draw conclusions regarding an event? Why is there a need to jump to the conclusion first? If Hitler’s ideas were so treasured by Germans, the world must have wasted its time in cursing Hitler since the end of the Second World War.

    The way right-wingers are spreading their wings in Germany, the implications are far-reaching for both Germany and the world. In the wake of the Cologne incidents, the upsurge in the popularity of right-wing political parties is no surprise but the surprise lies in the silence of the police department of Cologne. It should finalise its investigation quickly and let the world know the truth, whatever it is.

  9. If anyone here bothers to read history you will do well to notice that historically this is how Muslims terrorized, raided, invaded, and conqurored the ancient mediterranean, Spain, Sicily, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and so forth. Make no mistake, if you also read your Koran you’ll find that it clearly stipulates what muslims are to do in non muslim lands to avoid living in sin ( you either leave or you make them muslim lands). Knowledge will set you free.

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