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Refugee rights

From Cronulla to Cologne, it’s the same rhetoric

Watching the fallout from the New Year’s Eve incidents in Cologne and several other German cities has been like watching the shock waves from an explosion as it gradually surges outwards in all directions. And it’s far from over.

170 victim reports have been filed to Cologne police. Many charges relate to theft, and many involve sexual assault, including at least one rape, allegedly perpetrated by men of ‘North African appearance’. But on the evening itself, police failed to respond adequately – in some cases at all – to victims’ reports, despite larger presences across Germany due to a terror warning in Munich. In fact, 500 officers were present in the square in Cologne. (Here’s a good summary in English, put together by the editors and writers at Der Spiegel.)

It is the sexual assault that has been at the centre of the story, not the victims. Indeed, it is the idea of sexual assault perpetrated upon German women by foreigners that has been the epicentre of the political explosion. Since 1 January, there have been calls to close the borders, end all German intake of refugees and asylum seekers, and immediately deport any non-German found guilty of sexual harassment. These calls have been echoed across the political spectrum. In fact, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a politician who has not made some sort of public statement on ‘Cologne’, including the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose portfolio does not usually include sexual assault and petty theft on the streets of Cologne.

Not even the Paris terror attacks of November last year appear to have had such a destabilising effect on Germany’s so-called ‘open door’ policy on immigration and asylum – but perhaps that is because the mass killings in Paris didn’t involve questions of moral and cultural standards around sexuality and gender relations.

By now, it is well-known how ferociously the events have been seized upon by conservatives and radical right-wing groups opposed to immigration. The language of the public debate has been predictably filled with calls to defend ‘our women’ from the ‘uncivilised’ hordes of medieval barbarians from the Middle East. Vigilante groups have formed. One announced on Facebook that it would be organising ‘patrols’ around Cologne with the intention of ‘cleaning up’.

‘We’re not out to start a war,’ the group stated, ‘but neither will we turn a blind eye when women are attacked and groped.’

‘We want to step up and offer our assistance,’ said the founder of Cologne Citizens’ Defence (which recruits from sports fighters, bodybuilders and bouncers), in order to ‘make the city safe for our ladies.’  Within a few days its Facebook presence ballooned to over 9000 members.

On Sunday night, a group of at least 20 men attacked 11 ‘foreigners’, including Pakistanis, Guineans and Syrians. Two of the victims were hospitalised. On Tuesday in the eastern city of Leipzig, following a rally by the local branch of right-wing anti-Islam movement Pegida, more than 200 Nazis went on a rampage through a left-wing district smashing shops and businesses. Earlier at the rally, placards bearing slogans such as ‘Rapefugees not welcome’ could be seen.

To an Australian audience, these arguments might sound familiar: ‘Defending our women’ was a catch-cry of the Anglo-Australian mob on a racist rampage in Cronulla in 2005. Almost a decade later, following an alleged sexual assault by a Sri Lankan asylum seeker, then Minister for Immigration Scott Morrison called for the same demands now emerging from the German parliament: increased criminalisation, surveillance and police controls of asylum seekers.

In Germany, feigned concern for women has by no means been the preserve of right-wing street movements. Rather, it has been reflected at every level of the political establishment. Loud and indignant statements have been made by many conservative politicians – some of whom, as recently as 1997, voted against legislative reform to (finally!) criminalise rape within marriage.

As left-wing publicist Jakob Augstein noted in Der Spiegel, ‘the women of Cologne are but minor characters’ in the unfolding spectacle. In fact, Augstein notes, women are being doubly abused, as illustrated by the front covers of centre-right Focus magazine, and the centre-left daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

 

‘Women accuse! After the sex-attacks by migrants: are we still tolerant or already blind?’

‘Women accuse! After the sex-attacks by migrants: are we still tolerant or already blind?’

 

‘Many young Muslims are incapable of relaxed interaction with the opposite sex. These are always highly sexualised situations. This, too, lies behind the excesses in Cologne.’

‘Many young Muslims are incapable of relaxed interaction with the opposite sex. These are always highly sexualised situations. This, too, lies behind the excesses in Cologne.’ (SZ has now issued a public apology for the image.)

 

Both covers manage to be racist, and gratuitously, viscerally sexist at the same time.

It has been seductive for many, including liberal feminists, to throw the focus onto what Germany’s former minister for women, Christian Democrat Christina Schroeder, called the ‘violence-legitimising masculinity norms of Muslim culture’. Certainly, the latest published information on the perpetrators make such lazy thinking easy: Cologne police now say they have identified 19 suspects (a far cry from the 1000 figure that was still being quoted a week ago), none of whom is a German citizen. Nine of them are in Germany ‘illegally’, ten are asylum seekers. The majority are from the North African region, mostly Morocco. One hails from Syria.

According to Cologne police statistics, 40 per cent of North African immigrants fall foul of the law in some way within 12 months of arrival (compared with 0.5 per cent of Syrians). North Rhine-Westphalian Interior Minister Ralf Jäger claims that this is due to pressure upon young men to begin earning money as quickly as possible in large sums, ‘in order to pay their people smugglers’. This may be part of the picture, to be sure, but social and economic exclusion is also a significant factor – it always is where petty crime is involved.

These suspects have posed a challenge to unhelpful narratives aimed at denying any asylum seeker involvement. But, along with holding individual perpetrators to full account, the conditions of possibility for such acts need to be tackled. As such, it’s even more important to take a principled stand against racism, Fortress Europe and social exclusion.

Furthermore, we need a solid commitment to women’s rights. Socioeconomic inequality is a major fertiliser for sexist ideology. Too many commentators to mention here have identified the utter hypocrisy of the responses outlined above, given the evidence of sexual assaults at events like Oktoberfest in Bavaria, and Carnival in Cologne itself. Even the most conservative police figures of reported rapes at Oktoberfest are between two and ten per year. In 2015, 26 sexual assaults were reported at the festival, including two cases of rape. The police report for one of the assaults described how a woman was charged with grievous bodily harm and issued a four-figure fine when, in response to ‘a playful grope under her skirt’ (police description), she turned, beer glass in hand, and struck the perpetrator in the head.

There is an enormous body of scholarship and statistical evidence detailing and describing everyday sexual assault and sexualised and gendered violence in Germany – which shows there is nothing imported about sexism.

The Cologne events occurred within hours of, and possibly even simultaneously to, Merkel’s nationally broadcast New Year’s address (here with English subtitles), in which she thanked her people for the ‘warmheartedness and devotion’ they had shown refugees fleeing war and death in 2015. She thanked volunteers, military, civil servants and police, who ‘even at this moment’ (!) were contributing something ‘extraordinary’ to the project of integration and social cohesion.

Days later she lashed out viciously, saying that the ‘full force of German law’ should be mobilised in response to Cologne. Concern or sympathy for the victims was barely discernible. As one presenter on national television network ARD remarked, such statements are surely obvious, given that the ‘full force of German law’ applies in principle to every German citizen as well. Merkel has thus been shown a hypocrite: golden words of welcome in her New Year’s Eve address, followed by a searing legal double standard just a few days later.

Above all, this situation poses a strategic challenge to Merkel: given all the ‘our values’ talk, and her celebration of the ‘open door’, it is impossible for her to pursue an openly racist line with any legitimacy. Using the events in Cologne to halt refugee intake would look foolish: from the right’s perspective it would be an admission that the policy was wrong in the first place, and for the left it would indicate a failure to uphold the Geneva Convention, or defend a policy that many believe is Merkel’s single positive contribution during her entire Chancellorship. This has left the government (including its Social Democrat partners) scrambling for a response that is strong-armed enough to placate the hardened anti-immigration conservatives in Merkel’s own CDU/CSU, but which does not look like a blanket racial profiling of 1.1 million new Germans.

Two short paragraphs from Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle neatly summarise the double message coming from Berlin:

[Germany’s Justice Minister, Heiko] Maas added that ‘cultural background justifies or excuses nothing. … For us, men and women have equal rights in all matters. Everyone who lives here must accept that.’

In the coming days, Maas’ Social Democrats (SPD) are expected to join coalition partners, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s (CDU) in presenting new laws to the Bundestag that would expedite the deportation of asylum seekers and migrants who commit crimes. The administration has received a hefty amount of criticism for ill-preparedness when dealing with the open-door policy it has adopted towards Europe’s migrant crisis.

Article 53 of the Residency Law, which states that asylum applications will not be affected or influenced in any way by convictions carrying sentences of less than 3 years’ prison, is now being opportunistically described as a legal loophole.

Merkel’s Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière, has proposed strengthening government powers to deport non-Germans by expanding the list of criminal convictions forming grounds for deportation to include petty crime and lower-level sentencing. The fallout is also spilling into neighbouring countries. Members of both the Dutch and Slovakian governments have expressed their interest in restricting specifically Muslim refugees from entering their countries, citing Cologne as their reason. The truth is that they did not need another reason – Merkel has been under consistent attack from the far right of her own coalition party for her open-door policy, and the right-wing populist Pegida street movement had some successful mobilisations long before the events of New Year’s Eve. But the popular understanding of the Cologne events as evidence of a uniquely Muslim threat to European women certainly makes pushing these policies much easier.

Among feminists, liberals and the left, responses have been varied. A chorus of commentators have been quick to press the need to fight both sexism and racism at the same time, and banners at a demonstration in Cologne just days after news of the assaults emerged bore slogans to that effect. A resolution passed on Tuesday by the parliamentary caucus of the left party, Die Linke, strongly opposes moves by the Merkel government to toughen asylum policy and compromise the rule of law. It also draws critical attention to the German military interventions and weapons exports to the Middle East that have contributed to the creation of the asylum and refugee influx.

Some commentators from the liberal left, though, have called for more police. But if 500 police officers did nothing to help victims on New Year’s Eve, a continuing increased presence is hardly going to help. Other responses have revealed the truly bizarre effect when surveillance logic is given a ‘feminist’ spin: one call distributed by Australian feminist group Destroy the Joint was for the introduction of curfews! Which is little different to Scott Morrison’s suggestion of special behavioural protocols for refugees and asylum seekers beyond the existing legal framework.

A good list of solutions to the issue of sexual assault and harassment has been put together by the #ausnahmslos campaign, launched as a successor to the #aufschrei hashtag of a few years ago. But the list is incomplete. There are no demands directed at alleviating the socioeconomic effects of capitalism that enable and perpetuate gender inequality and sexism. Without directly tackling this aspect – that is, pay inequality, legal inequality and employment inequality, all of which lead to lack of financial and legal independence and thus greater susceptibility to coercion, as well as propping up the idea that women have less social value – little will change for women in Germany, or anywhere else.

In terms of the continuing fallout from Cologne, one thing is clear: in the German government’s attempts to maintain control over its future course, and as pressure from an increasingly confident right-wing grows, the prize role of victim will continue to be shunted onto society’s oppressed – women, refugees and asylum seekers, the socially excluded and disadvantaged. The only effective response can be to oppose the trend and increase collective solidarity.

 

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Kate Davison lives between Melbourne and Berlin and writes on the topics of racism, religion and sexuality in Europe.

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Comments

  1. There are some strange conclusions drawn in this piece”

    “Cologne police now say they have identified 19 suspects (a far cry from the 1000 figure that was still being quoted a week ago.”

    It should be obvious what is wrong with this: the rest of the attackers (the Cologne police say they are looking for ‘hundreds’) just haven’t been identified. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The number of criminal complaints in Cologne alone is now more than 600, not more than 170. Many victims described being molested by ‘dozens’ of men, some of whom directed the activities, while others prevented the police from intervening. You are erasing the actions of the perpetrators with this minimisation.

    The tired Oktoberfest comparison only shows the difference between this event and its supposed predecessors. It’s true there are sexual assaults reported at Germans carnivals every year. Oktoberfest has around 10 on average. Even allowing for low reporting, the per capita rate of assault is tiny in comparison to this. Oktoberfest has more than 6 million visitors a year. And how many of those victims were assaulted by more than one person? How many by more than 10, or 20?

    How many assaults started with fireworks being thrown at the victims, or put down their jumpers? Attacks on this scale may show co-ordination (the evidence is still mixed on that). If they were spontaneous, that interpretation is no better.

    Negotiating acculturated differences in gendered space is a difficult task. Pretending that these differences do not exist does nothing to help refugees and migrants, who have signed on to voluntary education programs in considerable numbers.

    The left’s dream of open borders is being conducted as a natural experiment. That experiment is not going well. Pointing that out -even as a means to turn that around – is not a racist double standard.

    • even here the faceless “left” is blamed for allowing refugees to flee war-torn countries, and even here a comparison showing how common sexual assault is in Germany is labeled “tired”

      disturbing

    • Thanks for your comment Richard.

      You have raised valid corrections of the numbers of incidents reported. In my defence, the figures were correct as far as published information at the time I submitted the article copy. By the time it went live on the Overland website, more dramatic numbers had been published in the media.

      As to your political criticism of the article, like birdo, I find your use of the adjectives “tired” concerning. What you don’t acknowledge in your comment is the number of women who experience sexual violence annually across Germany, in the home and on the street, not to mention less physically invasive forms of sexual assault including verbal abuse and unwanted sexualised commentary, jokes, etc.

      I have not yet been able to find any reliable *comparative* data on sexual assault between countries associated with “Western” traditions and those in the Middle East, certainly not data that has been collected using identical methodology. If you can point us to some, that would be constructive.

      What is your response to the emergence of groups like Syrians Against Sexism, who have been demonstrating in public over the past 3-4 days, I wonder?

      Do you acknowledge the role that imperialism plays in generating circumstances of desperation leading to petty criminality?

  2. ‘As left-wing publicist Jakob Augstein noted in Der Spiegel, ‘the women of Cologne are but minor characters’ in the unfolding spectacle’.
    Minor characters, indeed. That ignorant sexist and irresponsible statement sums up the intrinsic weakness of this entire article.

      • Yes, birdo is right. You have misunderstood the statement, Joe.

        What Augstein was saying, which I think was clear from the way I used the quote, was that there is a double-abuse of women going on in the media fall-out.

        Not only were women abused by the attackers on the square that night; they have then been subjected to gratuitous, sexist imagery by a euro-hungry press eager to exploit the lurid symbolism of white women’s bodies and brown men’s hands.

  3. Thanks for the article Kate. I think you’ve produced the most factually-based argument about Cologne I’ve read on the Anglophone Left (although I think Richard is right on the higher number of people who have reported complaints).

    I also think you are right to refuse to generalise these horrific assaults to refugees (or migrants or Muslims) as a social group, as the hard Right did initially and as the centre Right and centre Left have gone along with since.

    There is one part of your argument I disagree with, however, and that is your situation of the Cologne attacks within broader German sexism and sexual assault. It seems to me that the known facts — (1) the methods of the perpetrators and (2) the fact that this has been a growing pattern among asylum seekers and other illegal migrants, especially those under pressure to pay their people smugglers (hence why Syrians are less implicated) — suggest that this is quite unlike the pattern of even an Oktoberfest. It’s not to say that sexual assault is purely “imported” (it obviously isn’t) but the pattern of these attacks is different and needs to be explained on that basis. The danger is that we get in an argument about whose sexism is worse, which actually clarifies nothing in this case.

    I think also that one thing you leave hanging is Merkel’s motivations for taking the refugees in the first place, which was pitched as German moral leadership of Europe, and which I think much of the Left accepted too uncritically (thereby not constructing an independent case for open borders, one that doesn’t rely on saintly Aylan-style innocents to be sustained). I think that leads you to downplay how much this has been a fight between the centre Right and hard Right, and how little the Left is on the sidelines and feeling pressure to fall in behind the government’s least-worst option.

    OTOH I think that while Richard has been correct to criticise the Left’s confusion on what to do when refugees do bad stuff, he veers into the kind of essentialism you and I are hostile to in this case. A million refugees come and so far at most a few hundred have done something “really bad”, and yet he blames the million for the hundreds. He turns a serious minority occurrence into a broad culture war.

    And there has never been much “open borders” about what Merkel has been doing; it has always been a case of German national sovereignty asserting itself within a wider EU sovereignty. The problem is that for all but a tiny minority on the Left, Merkel’s actions were seen as brave and daring humanitarianism rather than cynical political manoeuvres. Now the chickens have come home to roost, but not on an actual open borders argument.

    • Thanks for the comment, Tad. I appreciate much of what you say.

      I disagree though, that the article necessarily “situat[es] the Cologne attacks within broader German sexism and sexual assault”.

      I do think it is important to highlight the hypocrisy of claims that sexual assault is imported, and the only way to do this really is to remind ourselves of the everyday sexual assault faced by women in Germany irrespective of the arrival of refugees from other countries.

      But this does not equate to smoothing out or obscuring specificities of attitudes towards women that have developed in particular social, economic, political and geographical circumstances. I absolutely agree that the particularities of these assaults need to be assessed closely and hopefully understood. My motivation (and I would venture, that of many others who have made similar points) was rather to highlight that this is precisely NOT an argument about whose sexism is worse. This is why I raised the issue of socio-economic circumstances and their role in enabling the conditions of possibility for sexual violence. This is also why, as you have pointed out, I was very interested on honestly acknowledging police information on the backgrounds of the perpetrators.

      On Merkel’s opportunism, yes I agree, but I didn’t think it was necessary to spell that out, to be honest. I perhaps wrongly assumed that it would be taken for granted by the Overland readership.

  4. Number of incidents aside (which I wouldn’t care to speculate on anyway), something I haven’t really seen discussed is how these reports echo other European fixations with those deemed not to belong: the Romani people, ‘itinerant’ pickpockets, the alleged criminality of French-Algerians, for example. These reports all fit rather neatly into those narratives, though sexualised in a way that I don’t think we’ve seen lately, at least not in this en masse, mythologised way.

    I think Kate’s right, too, about how the right conveniently use the racism versus misogyny wedge when depicting behaviours of non-white people and communities.

  5. I don’t get what’s happening with the left – nearly every article I’ve seen about this has downplayed the abuse and assaults on women as not that important, or tried to claim this is no different from what happens in Europe every day. This is demonstrably untrue. It’s actually really disgusting and disturbing.

    Do you acknowledge that many cultures in the Middle East and Northern Africa are highly misogynistic? Please don’t insult the women/LGBT people living there fighting for basic rights by saying you don’t acknowledge this. Do you acknowledge that the culture you’re raised in informs many of your attitudes to what is socially acceptable? I accept that many people question the norms of their culture and can change their attitudes, however it’s also fairly clear that the majority of people find this a difficult task, and it can be a lifelong journey removing the prejudices and blinders that you grow up surrounded by. Look at how entitled white men are with regards to women in our culture, and we’ve been trying to change that for decades. Do you think brown men are different? I see no reason to believe that they are.

    If you accept the above two points, you’re left with an inevitable conclusion that many of the people (particularly young men, which appear to make up a significant majority of people currently entering Europe at Angela Merkel’s invitation) will have attitudes and expectations about gender which are vastly at odds with what is considered acceptable in a liberal secular society. This is not mentioned in a single article I’ve read, however ignoring it won’t change the truth of it.

    One of the predictable outcomes of this is exactly what we’re currently seeing. The Rotherham sex abuses were also covered up for years (due to fear of being seen as racist), and it now comes out that Swedish police covered up the sexual abuse of many young Swedish women/girls at a festival last year (due to fear of being seen as racist).

    For what it’s worth, I actually agree with Dr_Tad, that Merkel’s actions are cynical rather than compassionate. I think what’s happening was completely predictable (look at Sweden’s rape statistics over the last 20 or so years – look at the stats on ethnicity of perpetrators, before Sweden outlawed recording this data. Look at the stats of the Finnish Ministry of Justice on ethnicity of rape perpetrators). No doubt this resulting clash between left and right provides a convenient distraction for the population – any maybe government even get to impose harsher security on the population as a added bonus. Too bad if women pay the price, don’t they always?

    I can only assume there is now some firm hierarchy of oppressed in the modern left, and the higher up that hierarchy you are, the less you are held to account or responsible for your actions. Why does it not surprise me that women come last on this hierarchy – again. Same reason that it doesn’t surprise me that so many of the migrants are young men from countries that aren’t at war – not women, children and elderly from countries that are. They’re still back home bearing the brunt.

    I’m left in almost every political stance I have, and in this case, my solidarity is firmly with women/LGBT people first and foremost. And I’m not the only left of centre person who feels that way. Our (women and LGBT) place in the world has been too recently won and is too tenuously held for it to be any other way.

    I also think the left needs to take a proportion of blame for the rise of the far right which is now happening around Europe.

    Anyone who has questioned the wisdom of allowing millions of people to enter Europe without even the most basic of background checks, or who has raised concerns about some of the obvious cultural differences which were likely to cause problems (particularly given the demographic that is arriving), has been shouted down as a racist or a xenophobe. I think this has driven a lot of people who would normally go nowhere near the right, to move in that direction due to this single issue, as they are utterly rejected by the left, and not with argument or discussion, just with name-calling. You’re a racist, conversation over.

    The ridiculous thing is, if the discussion had been allowed, it’s possible that effort could have been made to mitigate some of these problems, or ensure that those arriving were those who needed sanctuary the most, however now this looks to be an unmitigated disaster for Europe, particularly European women.

    • “I don’t get what’s happening with the left – nearly every article I’ve seen about this has downplayed the abuse and assaults on women as not that important, or tried to claim this is no different from what happens in Europe every day. This is demonstrably untrue. It’s actually really disgusting and disturbing.”

      Read the article again, maybe?

  6. “The only effective response can be to oppose the trend and increase collective solidarity.”

    How can this be organised, at all levels, let alone at an international level? There is always going to be a line drawn – somewhere.

  7. ‘Racialising sexism is no good for women‘, over at Salvage:

    Even more recently, other voices have joined the political right to invoke the hard-hand against Muslims in the name of women’s rights. In Germany, feminist icon Alice Schwarzer has been one of the most vocal critics of Islam, claiming that as both a religion and culture it is responsible for the oppression of women; over the years, Schwarzer has been joined by a wide array of political actors, including social democrat Thilo Sarrzin. This idea has become so widespread that according to a survey conducted by the polling agency Allensbach in 2012, 83 percent of Germans associate the word “Islam” with “oppression of women”.

    It is incumbent on us to remember, however, that in Germany Muslims have not been the only ones accused of innate misogyny. Throughout the 1980s, well-known Christian feminists such as Gerda Weiler and Christa Mulack blamed Judaism for having introduced patriarchy into the West. During these years, even certain politicians linked to the Greens seemed to intimate that Judaism—as a religion—justifies sexual violence against women as well as pedophilia.

    • Islam is an ideology, not a race. For anyone to claim that women are not oppressed throughout the vast majority of the Islamic world, particularly in every nation that is an Islamic theocracy (i.e. most of the Middle East) is just blatantly denying what is factually true.

      Back in the 70s I hear tell things were very different for women in these societies, and yes, that gives hope that things can change and this isn’t set in stone. However, it’s 2016, this is how the world is now. Our (western) continuing support of the Sauds which helped to bring them to power, and their overt support of a particularly nasty breed of Islam have resulted in what we now see (no refugee intake for Saudi Arabia, but hey, they’ll happily pay for mosques to be built in Europe to continue spreading Wahhabism).

      Maybe it’s not Islam itself, maybe it’s just cultural, but how do you even separate the two when Islam (which is not just a religion, but also a proscription for how political and justice systems should be run – unlike Christianity) is such a huge influence in these countries. Either way, to deny that there are different levels of misogyny and brutality in different cultures is to deny reality.

      To be honest, you either believe in universal human rights, or you’re a cultural relativist. You can’t do/be both. I know which side of that fence I stand on, and it’s not apologising for abuse with the reason ‘well it’s their culture, and you’re racist if you criticise it’.

      • Islam (which is not just a religion, but also a proscription for how political and justice systems should be run – unlike Christianity)

        You are a special kind of naive.

  8. Until you live and breathe Islam, and all it’s splinter sects and diverse cultures you cannot remotely understand its intentions.
    If you really knew what you were talking about on the deeper level then you would be writing something completely different.

  9. How do you in your wisdom distinguish between ‘feigned concern for women’ and genuine feminist outrage over 500 women sexually assaulted at the train station of one of Europe’s great cities, over a period of 6 hours, and the police were there but failed to call in enough reinforcements to put a stop to it?

    I note that nowhere in this piece do you manage to even feign concern for the women victims.

    I dare you to read this article and then continue pretending Cologne was just another OktoberFest:

    http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/01/13/arabs-sexual-harassment-in-germany-and-its-effect-on-merkels-plans/

    Written by an Egyptian woman living in Germany.

    I encourage you to read the whole thing, but here are some excerpts:

    The sexual harassment incident in Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve resulted in massive shock in the European community. About 1,000 immigrants of Arab origins gathered to practice mass harassment, which has become widely commonplace in Arab and Islamic countries. They separated the women in circles, with a detailed plan to isolate them so they could harass them sexually, physically, and in some cases, even raped them.

    This scenario is known in our countries but for the pacifist German society that respects human rights, it is a real shock and places a major obstacle in front of Merkel’s plans not to put a limit on the number of refugees admitted to the EU. Those who oppose accepting refugees of Arab and Islamic origins have been given the biggest corroboration for their argument to refuse giving asylum to people to those who do not respect customs and traditions of the German society.

    Testimonies of witnesses and victims confirm that these harassers did not have the slightest sense of wrongdoing; on the contrary, they have displayed a kind of pleasure and satisfaction.

    This catastrophic thinking has resulted in religious insanity that says girls should be taught their place in the streets and public spaces, to push them into donning the veil and push them out of the public sphere. Their rationale is that if women feel safe on the streets, they will be tempted to commit the sin of immodesty. By that virtue, harassment becomes a noble religious goal.

    • “About 1,000 immigrants of Arab origins gathered to practice mass harassment, which has become widely commonplace in Arab and Islamic countries. They separated the women in circles, with a detailed plan to isolate them so they could harass them sexually, physically, and in some cases, even raped them.”

      This has NOT been proven.

      “This catastrophic thinking has resulted in religious insanity that says girls should be taught their place in the streets and public spaces, to push them into donning the veil and push them out of the public sphere. Their rationale is that if women feel safe on the streets, they will be tempted to commit the sin of immodesty. By that virtue, harassment becomes a noble religious goal.”

      It is utterly preposterous to suggest that Muslims are in any position to impose any such thing in Germany. They accounted for 1.9% of the population in the last survey. Overwhelmingly, these Muslims are of Turkish background (whether born there or in Germany). Even with 1 million refugees, and even if they were all Muslim, this would hardly put a dent in Christian cultural dominance. Out of 630 seats in the federal parliament, THREE are held by Muslims (2 women, 1 man).

      • What happened to believing the victims? The victims, witnesses, and police all consistently describe what happened. A total of 980 victims have filed complaints alleging theft and sexual assault by gangs of Arabic-speaking men in several cities in Germany, with the majority in Cologne. Some women were manhandled by 100 or more men.

        **********
        This catastrophic thinking has resulted in religious insanity that says girls should be taught their place in the streets and public spaces, to push them into donning the veil and push them out of the public sphere. Their rationale is that if women feel safe on the streets, they will be tempted to commit the sin of immodesty. By that virtue, harassment becomes a noble religious goal.
        **************
        If you believe 800,000 single young men with this ideology sharing the streets with German women and girls is not dangerous, you are not rational.

        Mass sexual assault is just the price the women of Europe have to pay to avoid being called Islamophobic? They should just accept this new life of being advised not to go out at night, not to ride the trains at night?

        European women have to stay home so that Muslim Arab men can roam through their cities and hometowns?

        The 800,000 single Arab Muslim men Germany has admitted without vetting may not elect people to Parliament, but they can make life miserable for German women walking on the streets,even if they stop short of criminality. North African men have already had that impact in Brussels.
        Belgium film on street harassment strikes a chord across Europe
        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/aug/03/belgium-film-street-harassment-sofie-peeters

        The internet is full of stories of German women and girls harassed on the streets, from one end of Germany to the other. In the past year, it’s become their daily life. Here’s one:
        *******************
        I can give you my 1st hand experience
        I live in a town just south of Munich. There is refugee tent about 1-2 km from where I live. When I was walking down to the tram, a young blond girl about the age of 16 was walking in front of me. A group of refugees walking toward us started walking directly in front of the girl. When she moved right, they moved right, when she moved left, they moved left. They were purposely blocking her until I told them off. They laughed at me and thought it was a great laugh. The young girl took off as fast as she could.
        This culture simply does not mix with German culture. The freedoms we once enjoyed have gone out the window and I truly feel sorry for the women here.
        *****************
        The men harassing the teen knew they were being rude, impolite to their hosts, and frightening a young person. No amount of class time to teach them German social rules will make them want to be nice and respectful to the women and girls they see on the street. Especially since they are infidel women.

        German girls deserve to be able to walk to school in peace and safety.

        As a feminist, I have worked LONG and HARD for my freedoms, and I demand that young women have it better than I did, with not one whit of backsliding. We demand our freedom of movement, our safety. We will not give up one scintilla of our rights in the name of tolerating Islam.

        Large numbers of male immigrants of Muslim Arab cultures are a threat to hard won women’s rights of freedom of movement and freedom of choice of how to live their daily lives.

        Muslim Arab men have brought ‘taharrush gamea,’ organized mass sexual assault, to the streets of Europe.

        Merkel and other leaders will either respond strongly to restore women’s freedom and safety, or the election consequences will be dire.

        I found your blog via a link that was posted at Democratic Underground. We’ve been having a conversation there about these issues, if you’d like to take a look.

        http://www.democraticunderground.com/10027544142

        http://www.democraticunderground.com/10027536536

  10. Thanks for your comment Feather.

    What part of my piece suggests that I do not believe the victims? In fact, my piece promotes believing the victims. The target of my piece is the political and media machine that seeks to ignore them or only listen to them when it suits strategic purposes.

    Please see my broader comment below for a facts-based response to your suggestion that “800,000 single young [Muslim Arab] men with [religious] ideology sharing the streets with German women and girls is dangerous”.

  11. The suggestion by Feather above that:

    “800,000 single young [Muslim Arab] men with [religious] ideology sharing the streets with German women and girls is dangerous”

    is not supported by the facts.

    The following statistical comparisons were put together by German blogger, Carsten Buchholz on his blog, Neun mal Sechs (here: http://neunmalsechs.blogsport.eu/2016/gefaehrliche-patriotische-sex-phantasien/). Buchholz consulted records from the German Bureau of Statistics and the German Federal Criminal Police Office.

    He has compared immigration records to sexually motivated crime records, starting in 1990 when Germany reunified up until 2014. His findings are that as immigration has increased, sexual crime has either decreased or remained unaffected by the immigration rate. He came to the same finding when he disaggregated ordinary migrants from asylum seekers.

    Unfortunately I cannot link the pictures here, so I will have to just list the results in text form:

    Over the period 1990-2014:

    1. General
    The number of “sex murders” repeatedly fell noticeably, shortly after periods of large migrant influx (eg between 1991-1998, and 2001-2013). In 1991 there were approx. 400,000 immigrants, while in 2013 there were 4.7 million). Sex murders numbered 42 in 1991, but 6 in 2013. In the graph, the immigration line is a neat diagonal line upwards, while the sex murder line is a jerky line downwards, over time. This trend remained true even when asylum seekers were disaggregated from other immigrants.

    2. “Crimes against sexual self-determination”
    Crimes against sexual self-determination have increased overall (but not dramatically) from 39,000 per year in 1991 to 47,000 in 2014. But while one could *perhaps* interpret a connection between this trend and the increase in immigration (including asylum seekers) up until around 1996, from that point on the lines on the graph clearly diverge from one another, and from 2008 at the latest, despite dramatic increases in immigration, the numbers are completely disconnected – indeed, the number of sexual crimes actually decreases.

    3. Rape
    The number of reported rapes in Germany saw a moderate but steady increase from 1987 to 1996 (from 5,454 to 6,228). From 1997 the number increased more dramatically, reaching a depressing peak in 2004 with 8,831 reported rapes. Since then the number has decreased steadily, but in 2014, on 7,345, it was still higher than the 1987 figure.
    Developments in the number of asylum seekers in the period 1997-2004 are, however, not significantly different to the years prior to 1997. The number of foreigners in Germany even fell significantly in the years 1998 and 1999 – more foreigners left Germany than did arrive. So immigration cannot explain the dramatic increase after 1997. But something else happened in 1997 which probably can explain it: rape in marriage was made a criminal offence (it hadn’t been prior to 1997). Of the sitting members of parliament, 470 voted for the change, 138 against, and 35 abstained. The dramatic increase in the number of reported rapes, about a third more, matches the fact that about every third reported rape is perpetrated by a marriage partner. By contrast, the period since 2010 has seen an increase in immigration and asylum claims, but a plateau or slight reduction in the number of reported rapes.

    4. “Ambush-style” or “hit & run” rape (meaning: rape cases where the victim and perpetrator do NOT know each other)
    These account for about 25% of all reported rapes (which of course means that 75% of all reported rapes in Germany are committed by someone known to the victim: married spouses, relatives, friends, acquaintances, business contacts, dates, etc.).
    The number of ambush-style rapes in Germany saw a continual and steady decrease from 1987 to 1996. But even this type of reported rape increased in number from 1997, and remained more or less steady until after 2006. Since then the number has steadily declined, and in 2014 was even below the 1987 and 1991 levels.
    Neither the data material nor the history provide an explanation for the increase after 1997. It is easy to imagine, however, that on the basis of the publicity around changes to the law regarding rape in marriage, that reporting rate for all types of rape increased (note: this does not suggest that the actual number of rapes committed increased, but merely that the rate of reporting increased), but this is pure speculation.

    5. Buchholz’s final graph shows the proportional rate of population – the overall German population (blue), with two disaggregated lines showing the number of migrants (red), and within that the subcategory of asylum seekers (green).

    These figures, from the official German federal government statistics and crime agencies, contradict claims that “more Arabs = more sexual crime/less safe environment for women”.

    • Feather completely ignores Kate’s detailed stats on sexual crime trends in Germany, showing yet again that the crocodile tears from racists and fascists are motivated only by their seeing the Cologne crimes as an opportunity to ramp up hate against Muslims

  12. This article updates the figures on who has been arrested, and their background.

    “Only three out of 58 men arrested in connection with mass sex attack on new years eve were refugees from Syria or Iraq”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/cologne-only-three-out-of-58-men-arrested-in-connection-with-mass-sex-attack-on-new-years-eve-are-a6874201.html

    “The majority of the suspects were of Algerian (25 people), Tunisian (3) or Moroccan (21) origin and three were German citizens, according to Cologne public prosecutor Ulrich Bremer.

    Speaking to German newspaper Die Welt, he said that of 1,054 complaints received, 600 were connected to theft rather than a sexual offence.”

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