Syrian refugees grapple with perceptions

The Paris attacks are sparking fears in Europe that the Islamic State is hiding its operatives among the tens of thousands of refugees pouring into the European Union each month.

One Syrian refugee, Samar Alalaly, rejects those concerns. The 30-year-old Syrian mother of three, who arrived in Germany six weeks ago, says they don’t make sense. “We ran away from war,” she says. “We didn’t come to make war here.”

In a tent for newcomers, Kholoud Daadi, 39, says it’s frightening to know the terror group ISIS, one of the main reasons her family fled Syria, carried out attacks in Europe a week before she arrived in Germany.

God willing, she says, she and other refugees can convince German society that they are moral people who treasure peace and security as their hosts do.

Many Germans, including the authorities, aren’t convinced that’s true of everyone. And profiling has been very public. For instance, on Saturday night at Alexanderplatz in Berlin, police patted down a half-dozen young Middle Eastern men they had rounded up in front of passersby. The young men, one of whom carried a skateboard, looked upset as they held their hands up in the air.

Fauzi Nagdali, a 21-year-old from the Syrian city of Homs, says such tactics are unfair. He arrived in Germany and was recently approved for asylum. He says that Syrians have undertaken a life-threatening journey to find a safe haven, only to be arrested.

[NPR]

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