Debate about refugees and security

Debate about refugees and security

After the attack in Berlin – mourning and discussions about refugee and security policy © Michael Kappeler

On the third day after the attack on a Berlin Christmas market, questions about how to deal with radicalized asylum seekers and internal security are at the center of the debate.

In the attack with a truck on Monday evening, 12 people were killed and about 50 injured, some of them seriously. Police are searching across Europe for a Tunisian man whose toleration papers were found under the driver's seat of the crime vehicle. According to the report, the man, who was classified as a dangerous person, had been rejected as an asylum seeker in Germany in June and was to be deported.

The Islam researcher and French political scientist Olivier Roy warned against seeing refugees as potential terrorists. "There are no refugees who suddenly become radicalized," Roy told the "Kolner Stadtanzeiger" newspaper. IS terrorist organization merely uses refugee trail, political scientist says, to smuggle terrorists into countries.

Hermann: "Minimize risks"

Meanwhile, Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) renewed his call for transit centers to clarify the origin and identity of refugees beyond doubt and register them. Those who cannot clearly identify themselves at the borders must be held there until their identity is clarified beyond doubt, Hermann told the "Passauer Neue Presse" (Thursday).

"Risks emanate from many people who have come to our country," Hermann continued. These must be minimized. By the end of November, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, German authorities had 23.750 rejected asylum seekers deported. In total, from January to November, rejected the asylum applications of 149.595 people.

CDU politician Wolfgang Bosbach affirmed that it must not happen that people "with completely unclear identities, with completely unclear nationalities" live in Germany. At the same time, he urged restraint with regard to accusations against German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). "It would be perfidious to blame Angela Merkel for this attack in Berlin," Bosbach told ZDF's Morgenmagazin program.

Federal cabinet: video surveillance to be expanded

On Wednesday, the federal cabinet approved comprehensive regulations to strengthen internal security in Germany. Among other things, the cabinet approved a bill that would expand video surveillance in public places. Likewise, federal police officers are to be able to wear so-called body cameras in the future, as well as more easily record telephone conversations and conduct security checks.

As another part of the larger legislative package, the federal cabinet approved a bill that would ban face veils, such as a burqa and a niqab. So civil servants and soldiers on duty should not be allowed to cover their faces. In addition, the showing of the face is to be enforced when reliable identification is necessary.

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