July 2016 – GERMANY – Germany has been rattled by four attacks in the past two weeks, three of which authorities say have been carried out by asylum seekers or refugees inspired by Islamist extremism. Germany has been rattled by four attacks in the past two weeks, three of which authorities say have been carried out by asylum seekers or refugees inspired by Islamist extremism.
The attacks have given way to mockery by some Germans as well as foreigners, who have dubbed the recent weeks of bloodshed on social media as #MerkelSommer, or even “Merkel’s summer of slaughter.” One Twitter user posted a pair of hands covered in blood, quoting Merkel with, “We have already accomplished a lot,” using the #MerkelSommer hashtag.
Merkel vowed to boost security and improve counterterrorism measures, but she stood firm on Germany’s position of accepting nearly all asylum seekers found to be legitimate refugees. Germany took in more than 1 million refugees in 2015, making it the most open country in Europe to asylum seekers.
“We decided to fulfill our humanitarian tasks,” she told reporters at a news conference, according to a translator. “Refusing humanitarian support, which would be something I wouldn’t want to do and I wouldn’t recommend this to Germany.” She said that terrorists wanted Germany to “lose our view for what’s important to us.”
“They want to divide our unity, our cooperation, they want to harm our life,” she said. “They want to prevent our openness to welcoming people. They spread hate between cultures and also among religions. Merkel added, “We are being tested in the way we live. Our understanding of freedom and security is being tested.” But she said that Germany had faced such challenges before, repeating the phrase “We can do it” several times. “Anxiety and fear can’t advise our political decisions,” she said.
Merkel acknowledged that terror groups like ISIS have been able to penetrate the migrant route through Europe used by refugees to flee places of conflict, like Syria. “We do know that the Islamic State use the refugee movements, that they … have used it to also make it possible for terrorists to enter. We of course try to limit this kind of movement,” Merkel said. “There is another risk of perpetrators that have not come to the attention of authorities. We need an early warning system so that authorities can act as soon as … it turns out there is some radicalization.” –CNN