On the busy shopping street in Giessen, a German university town twinned with Winchester, migrant Atif Zahoor tucks into a chicken dish with his brother and cousin at the curry restaurant Chillie To Go.
They have left good jobs back in Karachi, Pakistan, and now want to be Europeans.
In late July the three slipped into Germany with their wives and children, using illegal documents. They live together in a five-bedroom house, rented for them by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, a 40-minute drive away from Giessen, which is home to the biggest migrants’ camp in the country.
‘We paid a trafficking agent for false visas to fly here to Germany,’ says 34-year-old Atif. ‘We claimed asylum and came to Giessen camp with other migrants. Three weeks ago, because we had families, they gave us a proper home.’
Atif is well-dressed and speaks perfect English. He used to be a transport manager at Karachi airport and is from a well-to-do family. Between mouthfuls of curry, he adds: ‘But there is violence between political gangs in Karachi. Lots of people are leaving for Europe. The trafficker decided that Germany was the place for us because it is welcoming refugees.’
Yet the raw truth is that Atif is not fleeing war or persecution. He is one of thousands of economic migrants getting into Germany as the EU’s immigration crisis grows bigger each day.
This week, David Cameron said Europe must send failed asylum claimants back to their own countries, while European Council president Donald Tusk has warned that millions more migrants are on their way and ‘the policy of open doors and windows’ must be scrapped.
They are tough words, but it’s action that is needed. As Jens Spahn, a deputy finance minister in Chancellor Merkel’s government, said this week: ‘Not everyone can stay in Germany, or in Europe. If people are coming for poverty reasons… we have to send them back.’
Mrs Merkel’s offer last month to accept all refugees from war-ravaged Syria opened the floodgates. More than a million migrants are expected this year alone, the bulk of them far from genuine asylum seekers. There is now deepening disquiet in this Christian country, dotted with churches, that it is being overwhelmed by people of a different religion and culture.
Yesterday, the Mail reported how social workers and women’s groups in Giessen wrote a letter to the local state parliament claiming that rape and child abuse were rife in the refugee camp. The allegations were corroborated by Atif over his curry. ‘The camp is dangerous,’ he agreed. ‘Men of different nationalities fight and women are attacked.’
The letter says the camp, far from being a peaceful haven for those fleeing war, is a dangerous melting-pot, where there have been ‘numerous rapes and sexual assaults, and forced prostitution’.
There are even reports of children being raped and subjected to sexual assault, it adds.
‘Many women have felt the need to sleep in their clothes… they won’t go to the toilet at night because rapes and assaults have taken place on their way to, or from, there. Even in daylight, a walk through the camp is fraught with fear.’
Controversially, the letter suggests that in the migrants’ culture, women are viewed differently: ‘It is a fact that women and children are unprotected. This situation is opportune for those men who already regard women as their inferiors and treat unaccompanied women as “fair game”.’
Many migrant women have fled here to escape forced marriages or female genital mutilation, which are rife in some African and Middle Eastern countries. ‘They believe they have found safety in Germany,’ says the letter, ‘and realise it’s not the case.’
Locals in Giessen are appalled by the rape allegations. But many are also increasingly worried about the effect of the migrants — some 6,000 Syrians, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Kurds, Eritreans and others are housed in the camp, which was expanded last year — on their everyday lives.
Some complain that the migrants have taken over the town, which is famous for its botanical gardens and dotted with pretty boutiques and flower shops. You cannot miss the new arrivals, wandering the streets in large groups.
At the Lidl supermarket a few hundred yards from the camp, a well-dressed German woman packing her shopping into a Mercedes saloon rolls her eyes at me as a group of Middle Eastern youths walk by. ‘What do we do?’ she asks. ‘It has happened now and it will never be the same again.’
Some of the tales being told in Germany may just be xenophobic scaremongering. But there is no doubt that the country is grappling with a major culture clash as migrants pour in at the rate of 100 an hour or more.
At other camps among the 2,000 that have sprung up in Germany, I hear various lurid complaints about the arrivals, 80 per cent of whom are Muslim, single and male.
At a former U.S. military base housing some 2,000 migrants in Bayernkaserne, on the outskirts of Munich, women’s rights groups say there is forced prostitution and rape every day. Men, women and children sleep next to each other in tents and, according to one social worker interviewed on local TV, the camp is ‘the biggest brothel in the city’ where the price for sex with a female migrant is €10 (£7).
Read more: dailymail.co.uk
H/T: Clash Daily