A Syrian refugee who was granted asylum in Germany, along with his four wives and 23 children, is now reportedly receiving 360 thousand euro ($390,000) a year in benefits, sparking outrage among German citizens.
The 49-year-old Muslim migrant, identified only as “Ghazia A.,” fled his Syrian homeland in 2015 and is now based in Montabaur, in the southwest German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
According to a report in the German newspaper Das Bild, Ghazia traveled along the Balkan route through Turkey along with his wives and children and eventually reached Germany. When he applied for asylum, since polygamy is prohibited in Germany, he had to choose which of the four women to become his “main” wife, in order to ensure to all his children social benefits that the state provides to refugees.
Ghazia chose his wife Twasif as his official wife, along with the 5 children he had by her. According to German law, Ghazia’s other wives are classified as “partners” but the man insists that he treats them all equally.
“According to our religion I have a duty to visit every family in the same way and do not prioritize any of them,” Ghazia said, meaning that he often must leave home to “visit” his other wives, who all live within a 30-mile radius of the man. All of his 23 children but one—a daughter now married and living in Saudi Arabia—are settled in Germany.
A local official in the town of Montabaur described Ghazia’s benefit situation as an “exemption.”
Ghazia’s story has provoked a strong reaction among many Germans, who are protesting the level of benefits enjoyed by the refugee.
The estimated sum of 360 thousand euros per year comes from a German financial manager who posted the figure on the website of the “Association of Employers” as an approximative calculation of what the German state would be paying for the whole family.
For his part, Ghazia claims he would “like to work” but his familial burdens make it impossible. Back in Syria the man reportedly earned enough money with his car sharing and car service business to cover the expenses of his large family.
Now he spends his time visiting his various families, he says.
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