Muslims in Germany twice as likely as Christians to help refugees, finds survey

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SHAFAQNA – Muslims living in Germany are twice as likely as Christians to say they have helped refugees, a new survey has found, but volunteers who are not religious give up the most time on average.

The research by the Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation showed that followers of Islam were more socially engaged than any other group, with 44 per cent reporting they had worked to help refugees in the last year.

About one in five Christians (21 per cent) also said they had helped refugees, while 17 per cent of non religious respondents had volunteered.

In total, one-fifth of Germans said they had donated time to assist refugees.

“This voluntary involvement shows that our society sticks together in difficult times, regardless of religion or backgrounds,” said Bertelsmann Islam expert Yasemin El-Menouar in a statement.

The survey was the third of its kind by the non-profit, analysing the role of religion in society.

In 2015, Germany “opened its doors” to refugees, leading 1.1 million asylum seekers to arrive in the country, many from Syria. About 900,000 have been give refugee status.

But Angela Merkel has come under intense criticism for the policy after radicalised asylum seekers carried out three terror attacks claimed by Isis in the country.

In September 2016, the Chancellor admitted she had lost control of the situation and said she wished she could turn back the clock several decades in order to better prepare for the influx of refugees.

“For some time, we didn’t have enough control,” Ms Merkel said in a speech. “No one wants a repeat of last year’s situation, including me.”

Bertelsmann experts said that one reason why Muslims are more engaged than other religious groups could be due to their sense of shared origins: many who volunteer came from the same country as the refugees they helped, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Bangladesh.

The experts noted that German Muslims can be “important bridge-builders in our society” because they often share language and culture with refugees.

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