One week after hundreds were assaulted and mugged in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, Archbishop of Munich and president of the German Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, strongly condemned the gang assaults on women in a press release and called for more vigilance in the future.
The excesses in Cologne and other large cities are deeply disturbing for our society and can in no way be tolerated,” Bishop Marx said.
“We need accurate information and a clear response from the authorities.”
The magnitude of the attacks on women on New Year’s Eve near the city’s iconic cathedral shocked Germany to say the least. About 1,000 careless drunk and aggressive young men were involved.
Most of the crimes reported to police were robberies.Over 500 criminal complaints, 40 percent of which involved allegations of sexual harassment have been filed to the German police regarding the attacks. A volunteer policewoman was among those sexually molested. The attacks appear to have been well coordinated seemingly with the specific intention of having women as the targets.
German bishops “received a lot of criticism” for their negligence, not responding promptly to the attacks.
In a statement released, Cardinal Marx warned that “these new forms of violence and especially the inhumane treatment of women cannot be tolerated” and he demanded that “all the different forces in society must work together to prevent this type of incidents and guarantee safety.”
“As a Church we are here to make our contribution to participate in a society that lives in mutual respect,” he stated.
Wolfgang Albers, the Cologne chief of police, got dismissed on Monday over the controversy.
The press got a leaked note from the police where one of the suspects sought for a fair treatment; “I’m a Syrian. You have to treat me well. Mrs. Merkel invited me,” he said, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In November, Merkel was strongly condemned for encouraging an open door policy for refugees, in spite of various security concerns. In 2015, the country took in at least 1 million asylum seekers, from North Africa and the Middle East.
According to BBC, Merkel described the attacks as “repugnant criminal acts” that Germany “will not accept.”
The German Chancellor requested that “everything that happened there be brought to the table.”
“We must examine again and again whether we have already done what is necessary in terms of deportations from Germany, in order to send clear signals to those who are not prepared to abide by our legal order” she said.