Germany witnessed more than 3,500 attacks against refugees and their accommodations in 2016, according to a report by the interior ministry. This comes at a time when the country is divided over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy for asylum seekers.
A total of 2,545 refugees were attacked in the country last year. Of these, 560 people — including 43 children — were injured, the ministry said in the report Sunday. A total of 988 attacks were carried out on refugee housing — an increase of nearly 400 percent from 2014 when 199 such cases took place. Apart from this, 217 refugee organizations and volunteers were attacked in 2016, according to the ministry.
The attacks have been blamed on right-wing violence, with Ulla Jelpke, a lawmaker for Germany's far-left Die Linke party, calling for stronger actions to curb such incidents.
"We're seeing nearly 10 [criminal] acts a day," Jelpke told the Funke Mediengruppe, a German regional newspaper group, according to Agence France-Presse. "Do people have to die before the rightwing violence is considered a central domestic security problem and makes it to the top of the national policy agenda?"
Jelpke demanded that "at least the government stop giving the impression through new tougher asylum laws that refugees are a threat." Instead, she said: "Nazis are threatening refugees and therefore our democracy."
Germany has been grappling with the refugee crisis created due to the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. Over the past year or so, several terror attacks across Europe — including in Paris, Nice and Brussels — have been attributed to asylum seekers.
In the U.S., President Donald Trump, in response to the crisis, signed an executive order banning immigration temporarily from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. The order also barred all refugees from entering the country for 120 days. The ban was met with severe criticism, and the U.S. government suspended it a day after a federal judge in Washington state temporarily put a stay on it.
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