A high-ranking Catholic official has called for a reduction in the number of refugees coming to Germany.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, cautioned Saturday that the country cannot “take in all the world’s needy.” Over one million refugees seeking asylum entered Germany in 2015 — the country currently struggles to manage the influx both logistically and politically.
“As a church we say that we need a reduction in the number of refugees,” said Marx to Passauer Neue Presse. He noted that the response to the refugee issue should not be one only of “charity but also reason.”
The cardinal also warned against what he perceives as xenophobic sentiments on the rise in Germany. He claimed that recent statements made against refugees by the right-wing and anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party are “unacceptable.”
“Sadly, there has always been a certain potential for right-wing extremism and racism in Germany,” noted Marx.
Response to the refugee crisis led AfD to become the third largest German party in November. Meanwhile, criticism of German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been on the rise, most notably with a poll taken in January showing 40 percent of German voters want to see her resign over her handling of the crisis.
Tensions between refugees and Germans have been particularly tense since a mob of up to 1,000 men of “Arab background” assaulted dozens of women on New Year’s Eve in Cologne. Germany officials were later accused of engaging in a cover-up before finally admitting the crimes several days after they took place.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere responded to criticism of the government’s refugee policy on Monday, saying refugees will have to leave once conflicts in their home countries end. Afghanistan’s minister of refugees replied by claiming only refugees who voluntarily leave Germany will be taken back.
The German government is currently investigating new ways to process the current stack of 770,000 asylum applications filed by the refugees.
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