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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
tension and backlash against Muslims in Europe
Growing support for an OPEN FIRE border policy on illegal
refugees in Germany
by Allan Hall
OVER one-in-four Germans say they back a policy to open fire on unwanted
illegal refugees at their borders.
The Alternative for Germany (AFD) party leader Frauke Petry caused a
storm a week ago when she advocated the right of border police to gun
down migrants. But her comments have struck a nerve in a country being
pushed to the brink by the crisis with 29 percent of respondents in a
weekend poll backing her extremist plan.
This, say observers, is proof of the greatest fear among liberal
politicians - citizens pushed into the embrace of the far-right and its
intolerant attitudes which brought Hitler to power in the 1930's.
Every fourth German considers it justified to "prevent unarmed refugees
at gunpoint to cross the border" according to the survey by the Research
Institute YouGov on Saturday.
The poll was triggered by Petry's comments of a week ago when she
incensed the ruling political elite by declaring: "We need efficient
controls to prevent so many unregistered asylum-seekers keeping on
entering via Austria.
"Border police should be able if need be to have recourse to their
firearms -- as laid down by law.No policeman wants to fire on a refugee
and I don't want that either. But as a last resort there should be
recourse to firearms."
But while a considerable number of voters agreed with her gunfire
policy, only 13 percent of those quizzed believed that her party should
not be spied on by intelligence spooks - something called for by SPD
party chief and vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. Thirty two percent of
respondents considered this a good idea.
The poll came ahead of vital regional elections in Germany on March 13
in the states of Baden-Württemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz and Saxony-Anhalt.
The AFD - enjoying record highs of 12 percent support among voters - are
expected to gain big and Angela Merkel's CDU conservatives are awaiting
a drubbing over her open-door policies which have seen over a million
refugees pour into the country in the past year.
Although Chancellor Merkel sticks to her mantra that "we can do this"
the reality on the ground for those tasked to process all the migrants
is chaos. Authorities are struggling to process hundreds of thousands of
asylum applications, according to the head of the country's refugee
"Between 670,000 and 770,000 people who arrived in Germany in 2015 still
had not received the final decision on their asylum applications and a
majority have not even been able to file their applications," said
Frank-Jürgen Weise, who heads the Federal Office for Migration and
"It's an unacceptable situation. It's serious and unacceptable for
people to have to wait so long. It's bad for the prospects of
integration and also bad for the job market when it takes so long."
Weise said that between 300,000 and 400,000 refugees in Germany have
still not even been registered.
In January, the number of new arrivals reached 91,674, about 28 percent
fewer than in December. Syrians fleeing the civil war in their homeland
remained the biggest group of newcomers with 35,822.
The violent sexual assaults against hundreds of women in Cologne on New
Year's Eve, and on a smaller scale in several other cities the same
night, which were carried out by gangs of immigrant men, went a long way
in turning around public perception of Merkel's humanitarian mission.
In neighbouring Austria tensions are also rising. On Thursday an
18-year-old asylum seeker who raped a 72-year-old pensioner was jailed
for 20 months.
At the same time, it was revealed that after serving his sentence he
will not be deported as the sentence was not more than three years.
The pensioner, whose daughter was a refugee helper, had been walking her
dog alongside the canal in Traiskirchen, where Austria's largest refugee
centre is located, when the youth, then aged 17, attacked her last
autumn. Police admitted it was NOT reported at the time to local media
because of the "sensitivity" of the subject.
At the weekend in Vienna police finally admitted that an Iraqi man is
awaiting trial after raping and severely injuring a ten-year-old boy at
a swimming pool in December. They too kept the crime details secret.