Muhammad al-Mossawy, an Iraqi and former Muslim who converted to Christianity does not know how he managed to survive his ninety days in the German refugee shelter. The overcrowded housing with more than 8 persons in a room was not the cause of his annoyance, nor the lack of cleanliness, or privacy.
The reason was the continuous sermons and pressures he had to endure daily from his roommates as they tried to guide him to the “correct religion” after they learned he had become a Christian.
“Where are you from?” which appears to be an innocent and polite question to ask a newcomer, has become a code for a darker agenda among the refugees arriving in Germany. “All new refugees are subjected to this questioning which is how the Muslims try to determine your religion or sect, and thus how to deal with you,” Al-Mossawy told Israel Today.
“It is not enough to answer that you are from Syria or Iraq,” Deyaa Ibrahim, another young refugee from Iraq who escaped to Lebanon, then over to Greece and finally to Germany, explained. “When asked, the question then comes with, “From where exactly? My room mates wonder why I don’t go to pray with them. Then they are shocked when I tell them that I am a Christian from a Muslim background.”
The Muslims in Germany’s refugee hostels are trying to exercise religious control over Christians and other non-Muslims by first evaluating their beliefs and then pressuring them to prove their submission to Islam. Ibrahim, a Muslim convert to Christianity who spent time in a German refugee camp, said that, “Unfortunately, many people coming from Arab societies or countries in the Islamic world believe that they have the absolute right to pressure people to convert because they believe the religion in which they are born is supreme.”
When he registered himself in Germany as a “Christian,” al-Mossawy did not expect that he would be subject to persecution by his former countrymen here in Germany as well. The 30-year-old al-Mossawy was directly threatened with death by the residents of the refugee center after they discovered that he was an “apostate.” As they see it, he must be killed. He went to the police for protection who quickly removed him from the center.
“Not accepting the other is the reason for all this,” Al-Mossawy says. “I did not imagine in my worst dreams that I would be threatened for my Christian beliefs in the land of freedom (Germany), and until this moment I do not understand the reason why people do this. My faith is my choice, I am responsible for it, and I accept others for who they are. Unfortunately, this culture does not exist for many Muslims,” he said.
Ibrahim, who had also escaped to Lebanon where he was registered as a refugee with UNHCR, the UN refugee agency where he was subjected to repeated threats because of his religion. He too eventually escaped to Greece and later to Germany.
Many Christian refugees say that the religious persecution by Muslims is not the only reason for their troubles in Germany. There is also interference and restriction in their lives from people who automatically group them together with radical Muslims and troublemakers which for some makes their experience in Germany difficult.
But for many, their newfound Christian faith is also a source of strength. “My Muslim neighbor used to open his phone so that anyone could hear his loud private conversations with a girl every day. When he turned off the phone he would curse her and speak badly about her. Then he turned to me and asked me when I would return to Islam and become a good believer? I wondered at the time who among us really needed guidance?”