Christian refugees like Fadi S. increasingly face physical and verbal assaults by other migrants and security personnel in Germany, a report released by six nongovernmental organizations has found.
"Our political leaders have not taken appropriate measures to protect the Christian minority," read a statement by Open Doors, a group that is committed to protecting persecuted Christians worldwide. "The impression that this dramatic development is being suppressed and ignored has solidified."
Although the report documents more than 200 cases of attacks -- ranging from verbal abuse to death threats and sexual assaults -- the authors estimate that as many as 40,000 Christian refugees could be affected overall.
"This is only the tip of the iceberg," Markus Rode, a member of Open Doors, was quoted as saying by German media. Germany took in more than 1 million refugees in 2015, most of them Muslims. The data was collected between February and April this year.
Rode also described the mood among many Christian refugees in the country as being defined by "fear and panic" at the moment. Eighty-six refugees out of the 231 affected individuals said they had been physically attacked.
However, according to Germany's public TV station ARD, critics have accused the NGOs behind the report of focusing exclusively on violence against Christians -- and neglecting attacks against Muslim refugees, for instance. In January, Amnesty International released a report documenting assaults, harassment and exploitation of refugees in reception centers in Europe -- including in Germany that did not differentiate between violence targeting Muslim or Christian refugees.
Whereas the vast majority of the affected refugees that were surveyed for Monday's report said they had been attacked by Muslim migrants living in the same residences or nearby, half said that German security was similarly involved in such incidents.
In their Monday press conference, the six participating groups urged German authorities to distribute refugees more carefully based on their religious beliefs. Christian migrants should not have to stay in residences that mostly accommodate Muslims, according to the organizations. Many affected refugees are too afraid to inform the police about the attacks, which is why authorities might still not fully be aware of the extent of the problem.
Instead of calling the police, many refugees might have preferred to inform private NGOs or other organizations such as Central Council of Oriental Christians, which operates an emergency hotline. The council says it now receives as many as 100 emergency calls per day.