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Chaos in Cologne

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By Daniel J Broadley

It was nothing short of a media frenzy after the ‘mass sexual assaults‘ outside Cologne’s iconic cathedral this New Years Eve. Now though, allegations of a police and media cover up to avoid anti-immigration criticism has emerged, leaving many wondering about Angela Merkal’s open door policy to refugees.

At first, it seemed like typical media sensationalism. But when more accounts of what happened emerged, it does indeed seem to be quite serious. About 100 complaints were made to police, about 2/3 of which are thought to be sexual assault – including two rapes. Descriptions of the attackers being “of Arab and North African decent” has fueled speculation that they were among the 1 million refugees Angela Merkal allowed in to Germany to seek asylum.

This has fueled calls from the right wing group Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the anti-Islamist group Pegida to end the mass immigration in to Germany. However, the German government and local police have quickly come out and said there is no evidence to suggest these attackers are refugees; Cologne police saying that many of the men were in fact already known to them.

A 17 year old British girl described the events in an article for the BBC:

“We heard a woman screaming and crying somewhere in the midst of this crowd, appearing to be escaping from a foreign man, who was shouting back and pointing his finger at her and chasing her with his accomplices.

I saw a group of older foreign men go up to a group of younger girls (they looked under 18) in the underground train and started pushing them around and touching them, and the girls stumbled near to the train tracks. But thankfully a German man stood up and defended them, so the girls were able to run away.”

Merkal’s open door immigration policy has already been widely criticised – even from within her own party – and the events from New Years will surely be used to argue to her than 1 million asylum seekers is enough.

However, we must not fall in to the trap of marginalising an entire group because of a few bad apples. A million asylum seekers have arrived in Germany this last year – surely there are going to be a few undesirables.

To create an atmosphere of fear and hatred in Europe is just want Daesh want. The war against ISIS will be won by those who win over its people. To see Muslims flee to Europe from their barbaric regime hurts them.

Those who have done wrong will be arrested and prosecuted – as is our justice system in Europe. Do not let the events in Cologne sway you to fear and hate, let the wrong doers be dealt with and welcome those who need our help with open arms.

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aAh!

aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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