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    Close Quarters: Refugee Housed in German Church Near Kids Leaves Locals On Edge

    © AFP 2019 / ALFONSO DI VINCENZO
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    A protestant church community in Flintbek, Germany has quartered a refugee from Eritrea in the cellar of a children's daycare.

    As the Flensburger Tageblatt newspaper reported, many parents were anything but happy about the decision as they feared the refugee might potentially pose a threat to their children.

    "Nobody — even the pastor — can guarantee that this, possibly, traumatized refugee, who stays in the cellar without daylight for weeks, won't have some kind of a short-circuit reaction," a worried mother said.

    Iraqi security keep watch as civilians arrive on July 27, 2016 at a camp for displaced people in the district of Hajaj after fleeing the towns of al-Shirqat and Qayyarah, south of the city of Mosul, during reported fighting between Iraqi security forces and jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) grou
    © AFP 2019 / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
    Other parents were also concerned about the fact that a refugee had been placed in the immediate vicinity of 82 children attending the kindergarten. However, the local pastor said he didn't understand the parent's anxiety and advised them to choose another kindergarden if they do not agree with the decision.

    "Those who believe that the decision of the Ev. Church community of Flintbek was wrong may cancel their children's visits to the nursery if they think that this is a necessary step which we, of course, will regret," pastor Manfred Schade said.

    According to him, it should not be accepted that the "weakest members of our society are publicly denigrated as potential threats or terrorists".

    Nevertheless, the refugee was sent to another location and is currently living in a youth center.

    In an interview with the Die Welt newspaper, head of the local administration Rolf-Oliver Schwemer said that due to parents' complaints "he asked the community to place the "tenant" in another place. Among other things, it turned out that according to the documentation, the building can't be viewed as a residence facility and thus can't be used for a long stay in it."

    In an interview with Sputnik Germany, Jürgen Schindler, spokesman for the Evangelical Lutheran church community, commented on the issue.

    "The young man now lives in a youth center, which also belongs to the church," he said.

    According to Schindler, the refugee from Eritrea has already been accommodated there for six weeks.

    "Nobody lives in the building. There are only study rooms for young people here," the spokesman noted.

    Commenting on the reaction of the parents, Schindler said: "You can see that some people view a refugee from Africa as a threat."

    "However, ultimately, the question was whether the rooms in the kindergarden building would be suitable as living areas," the spokesman noted.
    Apparently the competent institution had doubts and ordered a legal examination. That is why the municipality decided to place the asylum seeker in a youth center, Schindler stressed.

    Germany has been struggling to manage a massive refugee crisis which escalated in 2015 with hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East and North Africa seeking asylum in EU member states. The country accepted over one million refugees in 2015 alone.

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    Kindergarten, children, refugee crisis, Eritrea, Germany
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