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Ramadan Dispute Turns Into Massive Fire At Refugee Shelter In Germany

REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

Authorities believe a massive fire at a refugee shelter in the German city of Dusseldorf Tuesday started because two migrants got upset when they were served breakfast during Ramadan.

Police say a group of migrants who observe the Muslim holiday of Ramadan got angry when staff served breakfast during hours when they are not allowed to eat.

Two Morroccan suspects are in detention for allegedly setting a mattress on fire after an argument. The flames spread rapidly across the 6,000-square-foot facility and dark clouds eventually reached more than half a mile up in the air.

“During this time of Ramadan, there was one group that wanted to strictly observe the fast, and another that insisted on the usual timetables and usual servings,” Ralf Herrenbrück, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, told reporters. “This had led on several occasions to disputes and altercations with officials of the German Red Cross.”

The shelter was home to around 282 male residents from a variety of countries. More than 100 of them were in the building when the fire broke out, but no casualties have been reported. At least 28 tenants suffered smoke inhalation.

Red Cross officials were fed up with the migrants when they spoke to the media. Police have been called to the complex 89 times in 2016 alone. The head of the local Red Cross Branch, Olaf Lehne, called for the perpetrators to get deported immediately. (RELATED: ‘I’d Rather See our Borders Closed’: Thousands Of Red Cross Volunteers Would Not Help Refugees, Survey Says)

“Whoever lights a shelter like this on fire and puts the German Red Cross’ aid workers and other refugees in danger is a criminal,” Lehne told reporters. “We don’t want criminals here. Such perpetrators must be deported as soon as possible.”

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