Politicians in Germany have expressed alarm over the number of anti-Christian crimes in the country last year, with the most violent incidents reportedly involving asylum seekers in refugee homes.
According to data leaked by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and published by the Funke media group, there were 97 attacks that targeted Christians or Christian establishments in the country in 2017. A spokeswoman from the police told Deutsche Welle that the leaked figures only included the period up to the end of November and could still change.
In addition, the leaked reports said 14 of the reported anti-Christian attacks in Germany last year occurred among refugees. This includes nine recorded incidents of physical injury and the murder of a Christian convert in Bavaria.
For Christian Democratic Union interior policy spokesman Ansgar Heveling, the leaked figures were alarming and needed to be addressed in the same way that the government is currently handling anti-Semitic attacks. He emphasized the need to provide better protection for Christian institutions and to mete out tough punishments for the perpetrators.
Christian Social Union's Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, on the other hand, told Funke that people in Germany must learn to be tolerant towards Christian values. He said those who act otherwise were not welcome in the country.
"Anyone who wants to live here must distance themselves from any anti-Christian disposition," said Herrman. "Otherwise, they are simply not welcome."
Just last month, a 30-year-old Afghan asylum seeker who was accused of murdering a Christian convert went on trial in southern Germany. The suspect allegedly stabbed a woman to death in front of her two children last year because of her decision to renounce her Islamic faith and embrace Christianity, The Local Germany reported.
The accused claimed that his action stemmed from his frustration over his looming deportation, as his asylum application had reportedly been rejected by Germany. In the country, homicide is punishable by a life term, but there have been some convicts freed after 15 years.