So that’s how they’re thanking us, many citizens will have thought when they heard during the Christmas holidays that seven young refugees from Syria and Libya allegedly tried to set fire to a homeless person in a Berlin subway station. If passers-by hadn’t intervened, the victim could have died. Almost all the men were known to the police for acts of criminal assault. If this is in fact what happened, then it is a crime that causes people to be doubly angry, because along with violating the prohibition against murder, it disregards another fundamental expectation: Anyone coming to Germany as a refugee seeking protection should value this security instead of doing the exact opposite and threatening other people. Otherwise citizens in host countries could begin to ask themselves why they should generously welcome people who are making their lives less secure.
Let’s examine this very question after Christmas holidays that were marred by acts of violence inflicted by foreigners.
Why are we putting up with all these people?
Why is Europe, especially Germany, permitting hundreds of thousands of persons who – compared with local standards – often come from backward, paternalistic, sometimes unenlightened countries to enter our high-end societies? Why are we burdening ourselves with persons who have been coarsened or traumatized and are threatened not only with culture shock, but also with profound disappointments, rejecting responses and religious radicalization?
The "suitcase bombers" of Cologne in 2006: young Lebanese seeking to pay back blasphemous Europeans for a Danish cartoonist’s insulting of the Prophet. The bloodbath in the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo: carried out by the sons of Algerian immigrants. The terrorist attacks in Madrid, London, Paris, Brussels, Nice, the alleged bomb-builder from Leipzig, the suspect at Berlin’s Christmas market: Many of the horrible crimes of past years were committed by Muslims. The familiar truth that not all Muslims are terrorists but most of today’s terrorists are Muslims means statistically that the risk of terror in Europe rises the more Muslims live here.
What moral obligation do the citizens of a country have to help citizens of other countries if they simultaneously import dangers that perhaps only fully develop in the second or third generation from the original immigrants? This was the argument France used during the 2015 refugee crisis to refuse to share the burden with Germany: Dear neighbor, we already have enough problems with the Arabs who have arrived in the last 30 years. Hungary and Poland said simply: No Muslims, no terrorism problem.
One can give an easy answer regarding the obligation to grant asylum and cite constitutional and international law. Article 16a of the Basic Law states clearly: "Persons who are politically persecuted have the right to asylum." What persecution actually means and how refugees must be treated is specified by the Geneva Refugee Convention. Since 2002, persecution because of gender or sexual orientation has generally been interpreted to also justify the right to asylum. What is more, the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits deporting unsuccessful asylum seekers to countries where they could face torture or other grievous violations of human rights.