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    Refugees from Syria present flowers to passers-by as they demonstrate against violence near the Cologne main train station in Cologne, western Germany on January 16, 2016, where hundreds of women were groped and robbed in a throng of mostly Arab and North African men during New Year's festivities

    Roses in Apology: Young Tunisians Make Up for Cologne Assaults

    © AFP 2019 / PATRIK STOLLARZ
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    Thousands have gathered in the German city of Stuttgart in a surprising move to support asylum-seekers and protest against racism and violence following initiatives launched by two groups, Tunisian Youth and the German-Turkish Association in Cologne, to apologize for the deviant sexual attacks on young German women on New Year's Eve.

    Saturday's demonstration in the southwestern city of Stuttgart was organized by churches, labor unions and other groups to protest attacks on refugees.

    Police estimated 7,000 people turned out for the protest, the news agency DPA reported.

    Peple gather in the center of Stuttgart, Germany during a rally to support refugees Saturday Jan. 16, 2016
    © AP Photo / Christoph Schmidt
    Peple gather in the center of Stuttgart, Germany during a rally to support refugees Saturday Jan. 16, 2016

    The rally follows a touching initiative by two Cologne-based groups, Tunisian Youth and the German-Turkish Association, which issued an apology for the New Year's Eve sexual attacks on young German women by migrants.

    Young Tunisians had stood at the main entrance to Cologne’s main railway station bearing dozens of single white roses, each with a little card attached, inviting women to take a flower.

    Refugees from Syria present flowers to passers-by as they demonstrate against violence near the Cologne main train station in Cologne, western Germany on January 16, 2016, where hundreds of women were groped and robbed in a throng of mostly Arab and North African men during New Year's festivities
    © AFP 2019 / PATRIK STOLLARZ
    Refugees from Syria present flowers to passers-by as they demonstrate against violence near the Cologne main train station in Cologne, western Germany on January 16, 2016, where hundreds of women were groped and robbed in a throng of mostly Arab and North African men during New Year's festivities

    “The events of New Year’s Eve did not happen in our name,” it read. “But we also strongly condemn the fact that they are being instrumentalized for the gain of the far right.”

    “The reaction of the people in the street was very different,” one of the participants in the initiative, a young Tunisian told Sputnik.

    “The majority was quite happy that young Tunisians or young people form the families of migrants had organized such actions. Others would come up and say 'You have nothing to do with it.'”

    One of the pedestrians, he recalled, came up to him and asked: “What do you have to do with all this? I hear that you speak very good German, you had nothing to do with that.”

    Refugees from Syria present flowers to passers-by as they demonstrate against violence near the Cologne main train station in Cologne, western Germany on January 16, 2016, where hundreds of women were groped and robbed in a throng of mostly Arab and North African men during New Year's festivities
    © AFP 2019 / PATRIK STOLLARZ
    Refugees from Syria present flowers to passers-by as they demonstrate against violence near the Cologne main train station in Cologne, western Germany on January 16, 2016, where hundreds of women were groped and robbed in a throng of mostly Arab and North African men during New Year's festivities

    The young man replied that many of his fellow students make jokes over those attacks, jokingly asking them whether they happened to be among those in Cologne’s Domplatz or Cathedral Square on New Year’s Eve. They are joking, he stresses, but many of the Tunisians didn't regard it as a joke.

    The young man was very displeased with the media coverage of the attacks, which hastily identified that the attackers were migrants, predominantly from the North Africa, without waiting for any results of the investigation.

    In another initiative, young Syrians apologized for the very same attacks.

    A flyer handed out by yound Syrians at the entrance to the university cafeteria in Cologne.
    A flyer handed out by yound Syrians at the entrance to the university cafeteria in Cologne.

    Professor Mordecai-Mark Mac Low was handed a flyer by a man he described as having Middle Eastern looks at the entrance to the university cafeteria in Cologne, which said:

    "Public Statement

    We, men from Syria, strongly condemn the abuse of women and the attacks against people as well as the robberies on New Year's Eve.

    We regret that women were injured in their honor and bodily. We hope that they recover quickly and well.

    We hope that the people guilty of these criminal actions will be found and punished.

    Our cultural values were trod upon with both feet through these criminal actions.

    Our values, of course, include respect for women and men, respect for bodily integrity, and respect for personal property.

    We are thankful to all the people in Germany, to women and men for all the help they have given us already.

    We will prove ourselves worthy of their engagement and their help. You and we will see, that your values are also ours.

    Germany has done more for us than any other European or Arab land!" 

    When asked by Sputnik how did it make him feel, Professor Mordecai-Mark Mac Low replied he  was happy to see that some asylum seekers were “taking the initiative to state their views and make clear that they were no happier than any other people about the actions of some young, drunk, and stupid men.”

    “That has become a tangled enough situation that merely analyzing the problem would take several pages, and finding a solution will require agreement among nations and groups with enormously varied agendas,” he added.

    Topic:
    Europe Sees Wave of Sex Attacks Amid Migrant Crisis (40)

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    sexual assault, apology, migrants, Germany, Cologne, Stuttgart
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