In 2015, Germany welcomed more than a million refugees fleeing civil war in Syria. The majority of refugees are Muslims, with some Christians among them.
With its borders burgeoning with new people, Germany has been looking for ways to find some relief for the people who need shelter and basic necessities. But the country, whose resources are limited to support the burden, is also facing growing anti-refugee sentiment, prompting Germany to look to other countries to move refugees on to other borders.
While Germany struggles to find partner countries, reports from persecution research group Open Doors were released, highlighting claims that Christians are facing intense persecution among the refugee camps.
The report, released by the Gatestone Institute, outlines more than 300 incidents against Christians, including many recent converts to Christianity. 231 Christians were interviewed between February and April. Out of those 231 Christians, at least 86 Christians have been assaulted by Muslims or in some incidents by security staff. Another 70 reported that they had received death threats for their Christian faith.
However, the Institute also reports that they faced many obstacles in conducting the study, as many participants were fearful to share what was happening for fear of repercussions.
Even more disconcerting is the fact that it appears that the government is not responding to reports of violence against Christians. Rather, Open Doors reports that the government in Germany and other governments like the U.K. are downplaying these incidents:
Despite increased reports about this problem by the media, charities, human rights organizations, church leaders and Christian organizations, German authorities and politicians have hardly ever launched an investigation. Instead, we believe that incidents are deliberately downplayed and even covered up. … Even in police stations, religiously motivated attacks on Christian refugees are not documented as such.” —Open Doors report.
In fact, the Church of England said that Western policies will possibly overlook protections for Christians in their policies in refugee camps. The International Christian Concern also said that Christians were fearful of staying in refugee camps because of the increased persecution and the move to other Western countries.
“As countries like the U.K. debate how to deal with the refugee crisis, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that their policy will discriminate against Christians. The policy takes those who are in camps, but many Christians fearing discrimination, violence and intimidation have not been willing to enter formal camps that are largely populated by Sunni Muslims.”
As this situation continues, it’s important to pray for our brothers and sisters who are facing dire situations. The persecution is only getting worse, and as the church here in America, we must not only pray, but look for practical opportunities to support them as they stand for Jesus in the face of growing hatred.