Open Doors, a non-profit charity that advocates for persecuted Christians, released a new case study on Monday October 24, that proved Christians living in a center for refugees in Rotenburg, Central Germany, are facing persecution from Muslim refugees in the center.
Researchers who conducted the case study found that Christian refugees living in the center faced death threats and ‘sentencing’ by unofficial ‘Sharia councils’ and Muslim refugees.
The report listed examples of persecution and harassment. According to the study, on July 10, several Christian refugees returned from church and found a notice in one of the rooms that said “To all Muslims: now is the time to behead the unbelievers.” The Christians were temporarily moved to live in a local church to avoid attack.
One refugee from Iran told the interviewers that one nights a group of men shouted: “Whoever finds an Iranian woman today may rape and kill her. Kill them all. You may kill and tape them. You can do it everywhere. Wherever you find them, you may do that.” She later told interviewers: “We came here to live a free life, but now we are being oppressed heavily. It is just like the Daesh [ISIS]: we feel very oppressed… I am living under constant pressure and cannot take it anymore. Nobody is allowed to know that I am a Christian, for I am afraid that they might find out about it in Iran. I am living under constant fear and oppression.”
Open Doors, the charity that conducted the case study, recorder 32 testimonies by refugees affected by religiously motivated attacks in the Rotenburg center, from countries including Iran, Syria, Eritrea and Iraq. Several of the refugees interviewed said the security staff at the refugee center hasn’t taken their concerns seriously and many of them are afraid to report anything to the police.
However, steps have now been taken to improve religious tensions. Christians are being housed together in a separate part of the compound and Christian personnel have been hired to supervise them. Open Doors reports, “since these changes have been made, there have been no reports of religiously motivated attacks at the center.”
This report followed a survey conducted by Open Doors, along with several other NGOs, that shows Christian asylum seekers, and members of other religious minorities, living in refugee shelters in Germany encounter systematic persecution every day from both Muslim refugees and Muslim staff.
According to the survey, as many as 743 Christian refugees and 10 Yazidis refugees living in refugee centers across Germany have reported religiously motivated attacks between February and September 2016. The survey stresses that the collected data should be “considered… as the tip of the iceberg” because there are a high number of unreported cases.
Due to the high persecution rates of Christians in refugee camps, Hungary recently announced they are opening an office specifically to help Christians persecuted in the Middle East and Europe.