Tuesday, September 29, 2015

29-Sep-15: In Germany, trying to deal with the "idiosyncrasies" of a million needy arrivals (in 2015 alone)

The caption on this published AFP photo reads: Policemen lead migrants to a temporary shelter as they arrive in Munich from Budapest on September 12, 2015 [AFP Photo/Sven Hoppe]
The Arab Spring, a relic of the distant past that
began on 18 December 2010 in Tunisia with the Tunisian Revolution, and spread throughout the countries of the Arab League and its surroundings [Wikipedia]
created a sense of optimism among ordinary Arabs that (as one source put it)
the people could, if they mobilized, win previously unheard-of freedoms.
As it's turned out, that "mobilization" and those "unheard of freedoms" turn out to be achievable, in the minds of a vast number of Arabs, only in Europe. Germany has become one of the prime destinations for the massive wave of mobilized Arabs and other largely Moslem migrants.

Germany's Deutsche Welle, under the title "Refugees don't leave their conflicts behind" has just published a startling piece about what the anticipated arrival on their doorsteps of a million people (the total expected to get to Germany before the end of 2015) describing themselves as refugees translates into in terms of challenges for the Germans.

Some extracts, all of them direct quotes:
  • There are no official statistics, but aid organizations, social workers and volunteers note that ethnic, social, cultural and religious tensions are on the rise in Germany's overcrowded refugee shelters...
  • The sudden surge in asylum demands this year has authorities scrambling for housing for refugees from war zones such as Syria, but also migrants from Albania and Kosovo. Often converted hotels, gyms, schools and tents are used as makeshift shelters. 
  • Tempers flare easily at close quarters. In Leipzig last week, about 200 refugees wielding table legs and bed frames started a fight after they couldn't agree who got to use one of the few toilets first. It took a large police contingent to calm the situation...
  • Other recent incidents include a riot at a refugee shelter in central Germany over a torn Koran and Muslim Chechens beating up Syrian Christians in a Berlin shelter...
  • [I]nsults, threats, discrimination and blackmail against Christian asylum-seekers in particular are a regular occurrence, according to the Munich-based Central Council for Oriental [in German: ZOCD]... "I've heard so many reports from Christian refugees who were attacked by conservative Muslims," said Simon Jacob, of the [ZOCD]... But that's only the tip of the iceberg... "The number of unreported cases is much higher."
  • Overcrowding isn't the main issue [he says]... it's merely the trigger: "People bring with them the conflicts that exist in their native countries, Christians and Muslims, Kurds and extremists, Shiites and Sunnis - they don't leave them behind at the border." These conflicts erupt when the refugees - often traumatized - are forced to live close together...
  • Separating refugees according to religion is now being mentioned as an interim solution to help alleviate the problems.
The optimism expressed by the German politicians quoted in this article is uplifting, even if it sounds (to us) a little out of touch with reality:
  • Islam is a part of Germany, but Islamism clearly isn't, said opposition Greens party leader Cem Özdemir, adding that tolerance must not be misinterpreted and exploited as weakness...
  • The refugees are afraid and mistrustful of authorities, and worried about possible retribution against their families at home, so they rarely call the police, he explained. They have to learn that they have duties and rights in Germany, Jacob [of ZOCD] said... It's of the utmost importance that the refugees be integrated in the German system of values, otherwise, they will live in parallel societies, he warned.
Robed figure, plus German police at the site of the Berlin mosque raid
a week ago [Image Source]
Eventually, the legal and criminal aspects of this massive influx are likely to become a core issue. Signs of trouble ahead are already there (all verbatim quotes):
  • "The police are at their limits," said Jörg Radek, deputy chief of Germany's police union GdP. Officers are tasked with registering newcomers, reconciling differences in the shelters and protecting them from far-right extremist attacks. "We have to do everything in our power to prevent further violence in the shelters," Radek said - and urged housing people of different religions separately. Different groups band together, and that can quickly turn into a major brawl, Radek said. "In that case, it's not enough to send a lone patrol car," Radek said...
  • Private security firms already guard some refugee shelters, but according to the refugees, their staff usually stays out of religiously-motivated strife...
  • Radek urged hiring even more private security offices to take the pressure off regular police officers. Ideally, the municipalities should hire security personnel experienced in intercultural affairs, he said: "Personnel that understands the various refugee groups' idiosyncrasies."
From the conservative part of the German political spectrum (but not only), they're focused on something that gets little direct analysis in the Western media. Marcus Pretzell, an MEP and regional leader of the Alternative for Germany party ["German economy collapse inevitable, caused by migrant waves", RT, September 18, 2015] says. 
I think that German government doesn’t have any idea for solution of the problem, because, it will be one million, maybe even more, maybe 1.2 million people, but mostly it’s young men who come to Germany and they all get their families to Germany as well. If they live in Germany, it will not be one million - it will be 2-3, maybe even more people from Arab countries living in Germany, and that will change the country. I believe that German government has no answer for this big change in German society... [Source]
Hans-Georg Maassen is the head of Germany’s domestic security service, the BFV. He is quoted in the past week by a British paper saying 
"We are very concerned that Islamists in Germany are trying, under the cover of humanitarian assistance, to exploit the situation of the refugees for their own ends and to proselytise and recruit among asylum-seekers..." [Telegraph UK, September 22, 2015]
Being concerned is of course not a basis for taking people's freedom from them. The head of the BFV concedes there is "no reliable evidence" that "jihadists are infiltrating Germany masquerading as refugees." Still, the interview was published shortly after a series of police raids were carried out in Berlin, targeting suspected recruiters for ISIS. A mosque and several apartments were raided in the early hours, on the heels of warnings that Islamic extremists are recruiting the refugees flooding into Germany.

Meanwhile, back in the home of what used to be the Arab Spring, the absorption of what are commonly (though not so accurately) termed "Syrian refugees" has produced a result that we think speaks for itself,. In CNN's words:
[N]o Syrian refugees have been resettled in Persian Gulf nations like Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, countries with significant financial and political interest in Syria... Gulf citizens have much in common with Syrians. They speak Arabic, like most Syrians. And those states are wealthier than many countries, such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, that have accepted refugees. Some say Saudi Arabia and Qatar have an obligation to help victims of a war in which those nations have been involved through their financial support of rebel groups that have fought Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. ["Refugee crisis: Why aren't Gulf states taking them in?", CNN, September 8, 2015]
Some say, and some ask. But meanwhile the migrants keep pushing into Europe in their hundreds of thousands. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has made a magnanimous offer to address Germany's challenges by building 
200 mosques in the country for the 'spiritual needs' of the Syrian refugees arriving daily in their thousands [Source].
That should help.

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