Germany gets picky about its refugees

The ruling party in Germany has decided to call for greater access for Iraqi refugees to seek asylum there. The CDU has one proviso, however. They only want non-Muslims:

For months, ethnic violence has been on the ebb in war-torn Iraq. But that has done little to ease the pressure of over 2 million refugees seeking shelter in neighboring Syria and Jordan. Indeed, for many of them — particularly those once part of Iraq’s Christian minority — going back may never be an option.

On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party said it would like to see Germany do its part to help out. At a press conference in Berlin, parliamentarian Erika Steinbach, the CDU’s human rights spokeswoman, said her party wanted to see Germany accept thousands of Iraqi refugees. In particular, she said, the CDU wants to extend its welcoming hand to Iraqis who have suffered religious persecution in Iraq. In particular, that means the Christians. …

According to Steinbach, the CDU envisions bringing a large group (possibly as many as 10,000) of non-Muslim refugees to Germany with the understanding that they would not be treated as asylum seekers. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work in Germany, and Steinbach said that it is unrealistic to think that Christian refugees from Iraq would ever be able to return. For this reason, their ultimate integration in Germany should be supported.

Members of Yazidis and Mandaean religious minorities would also be among those allowed in, according to the party’s proposal. The CDU argues that, in contrast to Muslim refugees from Iraq, religious persecution makes it unlikely that Christians, Yazidis and Mandaeans would ever by able to return.

Maybe Merkel and the CDU should wait a little longer. No thanks to them, the extremists in Iraq have lost significant ground and the non-Muslim Iraqis may not need asylum at all. The Mahdis have all but surrendered to the civil authority in Baghdad, and al-Qaeda has even begun acknowledging their defeat.

The reluctance to take Muslim refugees sounds pretty odd, coming from the heart of multiculturalist Europe. The UN agency handking the refugees also thinks it sounds strange. They don’t split refugees by religious denomination and are unlikely to accede to such a request, from Germany or anywhere else

Can you imagine the stink it would cause if the Bush administration or the Republican Party even suggested this? The shrill hysterical shrieks of “Christianism!” would rend the air from coast to coast. It might even be called a form of passive ethnic cleansing, assisting the extremists in Iraq of removing non-Muslims from Arab lands.