A 23-year-old man from Afghanistan was attacked near a train station in the German suburb of Neukölln allegedly because his attackers saw his Christian cross and were angry he had converted from Islam.
The local police said that the incident happened on Monday evening in the vicinity of the S-Bahn station, a light rail system used in many German cities. Valeska Jakubowski of the Berlin police said the man called them at around 10 pm reporting that two men had assaulted him because of the cross he was wearing, Die Welt reports.
“They asked him why he had changed his religion,” Jakubowski said. The man told authorities that one of the attackers tore the chain off him and threw it to the ground. The unidentified man then punched the Afghan in the face several times.
The second attacker then held the Christian by the arms as the first man took out a blade and cut him twice on the upper body with it.
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So far, police have had difficulties getting a description of the two attackers as the Afghan man does not speak German and they have had to rely on a translator.
A police spokesman said that they were looking at CCTV footage from the area in hopes of narrowing down the search for the pair of attackers.
The attack happened less than a mile away from the most notorious radical Islamist mosque in Berlin, the Al-Nur Mosque. An attack of this nature is also not the first to happen this year in Berlin.
In August, another man, who was out walking in the Prenzlauer Berg area, was attacked by three men of North African appearance who also objected to his cross. The three men brutally beat the 39-year-old and shouted abuse at him.
Earlier this year in May in Neukölln yet another man was attacked for wearing a cross necklace. Police officer Jakubowski said that investigations into the two incidents were still ongoing.
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Muslim violence toward Christians, and especially Christian converts from Islam, has sparked debate in Germany with some suggesting that Christian asylum seekers should be housed in separate accommodation from Muslims.
The Christian charity Open Doors claim to have recorded thousands of cases of violence and abuse directed towards Christians in Germany.
Earlier this year, an Arabic translator working with asylum seekers in Germany said that many of the Muslims in asylum homes express hatred toward Christians.
“Pure hatred against non-believers is preached, and children are brought here from an early age here in Germany. It’s very similar in asylum housing, where Muslim boys refuse to play with Christians,” the translator said.