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40,000 Christian Migrants in Germany Harassed for their Faith


A new report says up to 40,000 Christian migrants living in German refugee shelters are routinely being harassed for their faith and authorities are trying to downplay the incidents.

"We have to tell the truth," Markus Rode, head of the German-based organization Open Doors said. 

In cooperation with Kirche in Not, the Action on Behalf of Persecuted Christians and the Needy, and the Central Council for Oriental Christians in Germany, Open Doors released a survey this week documenting violence against Christians fleeing countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan by Muslim migrants.

"Our political leaders have not taken appropriate measures to protect the Christian minority," Open Doors said in a statement. "The impression that this dramatic development is being suppressed and ignored has solidified."

According to Germany's state-run broadcaster, 88 percent of those surveyed said they'd been targeted by other migrants because of their religion. 

A large percentage also accused prison guards of discriminating against religious minorities or harassing them.  

Of the 231 Christian migrants surveyed by Open Doors, 42 percent reported insults, 37 percent said they suffered a physical injury, and 32 percent allegedly received death threats.

"We're doing this on behalf of many volunteers who feel intimidated, as well as at the request of the police, who aren't allowed to say that this is happening," Rode's told a German newspaper.

According to a pastor from Berlin, Christian refugees are being forced to take part in Islamic prayer and threatened if they refused to comply.

Open Doors says the report is only "the tip of the iceberg" and said there was a mood of "fear and panic" among many of the Christian refugees.

Rode is urging German authorities to address the plight of Christian and other non-Muslim migrants in refugee centers. 

He and other activists believe one way to solve the situation is to provide separate housing for Christian and the non-Muslim migrants and have the government place non-Muslim guards at these centers.

Last year, Germany took in more than a million migrants, mostly Muslim men from North Africa and the Middle East. 

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