A wave of violence against asylum seekers is sweeping through Germany recently as more people flee from war-torn countries such as Syria and Iraq. In several incidents, Neo-Nazi groups attacked empty buildings meant for the refugees and left behind swastikas and anti-immigrant slogans.
Most recently, violent groups set fire to at least three buildings in Vorra, Bavaria, which is near Nuremberg.
“These arson attacks are abhorrent acts that the chancellor condemns in the strongest terms,” said Christiane Wirtz, the spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “There’s no room for Islamophobia or anti-Semitism, for hatred of foreigners or racism [in Germany]. The chancellor condemns such tendencies in the strongest possible terms.”
Germany received 180,000 asylum applications in 2014, which is 57 percent more than 2013. With the rise of refugees, Germany has experienced an increase in protests against the asylum seekers from groups who wish to stop the “creeping Islamization” of society since the majority of people are from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Some of these refugees were expected to use these houses in 2015.
Germany placed more security at all buildings for future refugees. No one was in or around the buildings when they were burned down, but one firefighter was injured while putting out the blaze. Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann said the authorities “will do everything to identify the perpetrators.”
In October, a violent incident escalated as an unidentified group threw Molotov cocktails at buildings housing “eight families of different nationalities” in Groß Lüsewitz in Northern Germany. The beer bottles flamed out before they reached the homes. Police officers could not find the perpetrators but believe “the attackers had a political motive.” Also in October, over 4,000 people overturned a police van in Cologne at a rally against immigration. In Dresden, the “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West” marched with 10,000 people. On August 11, a fire broke out at Berlin’s Mevlana Mosque. Authorities found flammable liquid at the scene, and they declared the crime arson. From The Daily Sabah:
One day before the attack in Berlin, the Süleymaniye Mosque in the German town of Bielefeld was set on fire by suspects who burned Qurans in the mosque. In February, the Central Mosque in Cologne, one of the largest mosques in Germany, was subject to attacks. Suspects crashed a car into the door of the mosque and attempted to set the mosque on fire.
Boris Pistorius, interior minister of Lower Saxony, dismissed the group’s concerns about Islamization in recent comments.
“We know that just under 5 percent of the population are Muslim by extraction, regardless of whether they practice or not,” said Pistorius. “Yet studies show that a majority of Germans believe that the number of Muslims who live here is not 4 million as it really is, but 15 to 20 million. The alleged facts on which these fears are based don’t match up with reality.”