Monday, October 19, 2015

The residents of Cologne say 'no' to hatred and 'yes' to integration

When two young Syrian refugees crossed the Czech border from Slovakia in a smuggler's car last month they thought their dangerous 24-day journey to Germany would be over in hours.
Instead the 23-year old childhood friends were arrested, handcuffed, strip-searched and detained for six weeks by Czech authorities, with only sporadic access to legal aid or interpreters and little chance to contact families.
"They handcuffed us and took us to a police station somewhere underground," said one of the Syrians using the nickname Ramez. "They told us that we entered the country without a visa and that it would take only a couple of hours. In the end it was 40 days."
Their experience has been shared by hundreds of others subject to strict immigration policies enforced by the Czech authorities. Sanding alongside the Czechs are Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. [Also click here, here, here and here for more info.]


While the fleeing refugees from war torn countries of west Asia are facing obstacles on their pursuit of the right to live and raise their loved ones away from the killing fields, not everything is lost to them. Some courageous European leaders and countrymen are standing out for their God-given rights.


Germany is one such country which is setting a new moral standard in Europe, which has not been too welcoming to the new migrants, esp. those coming from non-Christian backgrounds. So, most migrants' ultimate destination is Germany, which is now struggling to cope with a huge influx of asylum seekers.


Henriette Reker - an independent candidate supported by Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party - has been in charge of finding accommodation for migrants arriving in Cologne. Some right-wing racists and ultra-nationalists are against integration of those refugees. Because of her support for the migrants, Ms Reker was attacked while running a party information stand in Cologne, Germany's fourth-largest city. Four other people were injured.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her shock at the attack and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere called it "appalling and cowardly".


Ms Reker underwent an operation on Saturday and doctors say it went well. Ms Reker is expected to make a complete recovery, they added.


Fortunately, most of the residents of Cologne approve of her stand and she won 52.7% of the vote in the just concluded election there, officials said.


The suspected attacker, a German national, was angry about Germany's immigration policy, officials said. Prosecutors say the 44-year-old suspect, who has not been named, faces charges of attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm. A psychiatric examination indicated he can be held criminally responsible, prosecutors and police said on Sunday. Officials said the man had no police record and apparently acted alone.



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