Catholic Group: Do Not Segregate Christian And Muslim Immigrants, Despite Violence

Pakistani Christians shout slogans during a protest in Lahore on March 16, 2015 against suicide bombing attacks on churches by Taliban militants.
Arif Ali/AFP/Getty

A Catholic group has claimed that even though there is a rise of violence toward Christians by Muslims, segregating them in migrant camps would be worse.

The Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) has maintained that they reject any proposals to segregate Muslims form Christians in asylum homes Die Welt reports.

Thomas Sternberg, president of the group and a deputy for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said that the move to separate by religion would be a “disastrous signal”, despite the huge amount of evidence of persecution of Christian migrants by their Muslim counterparts. This has led many Christian newcomers to feel that their lives may be in danger, especially if they are converts from Islam.

Sternberg claimed that segregation would send a clear signal to the rest of the world that the members of the two faiths simply could not coexist and people should not “stir up the misconception that Christians and Muslims can’t live together.”

Christian relief organization Open Doors feels the opposite, having produced evidence of widespread abuses by Muslim asylum seekers and asylum security guards against Christians. The study released by the organization said that three quarters of non-Muslim migrants were under constant threat from Muslims in migrant homes because of their faith. The Christians and others were routinely beaten, sexually abused or insulted.

They claimed that up to 40,000 Christians were being persecuted in Germany.

The cases of violence have led many to request that the German government look seriously into separating Christians from Muslims in order to protect the minority from potential attacks. Some Christians and others have already been leaving or attempting to leave asylum homes this year though there has been little effort by the government to formally help them.

Sternberg warns against formal government endorsement of segregation  saying that Germans must “beware that it isn’t typical Muslims who harass Christians in mainly Muslim populated refugee camps”.

Appealing to a sense of history, he said people should remember that for “1350 years Middle East countries were largely peaceful”. This is despite the fact Christians were not equal to the Muslim majority they lived with as they had to pay the “jizya” which taxed them for being Christian.

The ZdK has endorsed an approach to solving the problem that is not based on religion but rather on each individual case. “If refugees say they feel threatened, you have to give them the opportunity to be accommodated in a more acceptable environment for them”.

Sternberg made it clear the ones in charge of this should be the social workers and migrant helpers in the centres rather than the government.