It is Mdre Bahri’s an unshakable belief that by opening her country’s borders and welcoming to the hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees entering into Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has completely changed the people of the world’s perception of Germany. Indeed, Angela Merkel’s open-door policy for asylum seekers has won her worldwide praise and admiration.
It is therefore very unfortunate that the right wing forces in Germany are now playing the race-card and are hopelessly blaming the newly arrived refugees to the much talked about disturbances that occurred on the night of the New Year in Cologne. Needless to remind readers, the race card is being played with the express political purpose to discredit the chancellor’s welcoming stance towards those fleeing conflict zones.
Critics of Merkel’s stance towards refugees seize on speculation about the nationalities of perpetrators of Cologne attacks. Many women were sexually harassed and mugged during New Year’s Eve celebrations at the Cologne central station [Oliver Berg/ EPA] Germany must examine whether it has done enough to deport foreigners who commit crimes, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in response to a series of New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Cologne. Police say witnesses have described the perpetrators as being of “Arab or North African origin”, but there is little solid information so far on who committed the assaults.
Still, Merkel said on Thursday in Berlin, “we must examine again and again whether we have already done what is necessary in terms of … deportations from Germany in order to send clear signals to those who are not prepared to abide by our legal order”.Heiko Maas, Germany’s justice minister, said in an interview with the Funke newspaper that “deportations would certainly be conceivable”, adding “that penalty is in principle absolutely possible for sexual offenses”.
Police said on Friday they have now received 170 criminal complaints related to the New Year attacks, including 120 of a sexual nature, the Associated Press news agency reported.
At least 18 asylum-seekers have been identified from among 31 suspects in connection with robberies and assaults. They were believed to be among a group of up to 1,000 people in front of Cologne’s main railway station on New Years.
However, none of the 31 is currently suspected of committing sexual assaults of the kind that have prompted outrage in Germany over the past week. Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate said the suspects were nine Algerians, eight Moroccans, five Iranians, four Syrians, two Germans and one person each from Iraq, Serbia and the United States.
Authorities do not yet have names for most of the men.
Speculation over the nationalities of the perpetrators has been seized on by some opponents of Germany’s welcoming stance towards those fleeing conflict, after the country registered nearly 1.1 million asylum-seekers last year.
Officials have cautioned that it is important not to cast suspicion on refugees in general.
Government spokesman Georg Streiter said the chancellor wants “the whole truth” about the incidents in Cologne and that “nothing should be held back and nothing should be glossed over”.
“It doesn’t just harm our rule of law, but also the great majority of completely innocent refugees who have sought protection” in Germany, he said. Merkel said the New Year’s assaults were “repugnant criminal acts that … Germany will not accept” and that legal changes or extra police presence may be examined.
“The feeling women had in this case of being at people’s mercy, without any protection, is intolerable for me personally as well,” she said. “And so it is important for everything that happened there to be put on the table.”