April 1. Senior German officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, always quick to outdo each other with good wishes for Islamic festivals, failed to greet Germans for Easter, the most important Christian festival. By contrast, Aiman Mazyek, the head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, did offer Easter greetings: "I wish you all peaceful and relaxing holidays. Happy Easter to the Christians, a happy 'Passover' to the Jews and a few contemplative days to the non-believers. #Variety makes you strong."
April 2. German churches were sheltering 611 illegal migrants at the end of March, up from 530 at the end of December 2017. Many churches in Germany provide refuge for refugees who face deportation or fear social and psychological hardships. German authorities tolerate church asylum, although there is no legal basis for it, according to the newsmagazine, Focus.
April 4. Sohail A., a 34-year-old rejected Pakistani asylum seeker living in Hamburg, confessed to slitting his two-year-old daughter's throat with a kitchen knife. Prosecutors said the man murdered his daughter out of "anger and revenge" because the girl's mother refused to allow the child to be taken to Pakistan.
April 4. Germany's domestic intelligence service (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV) reported that the number of Salafists in the country doubled during the past five years: there are now 11,000 Salafists in Germany, compared to 5,500 in 2013. Salafists are committed to replacing the German constitutional order with Sharia law.
April 5. The newspaper Bild reported that of the 5.93 million recipients of unemployment benefits in Germany, 2.03 million (34.3%) were foreigners. Nearly half of them (959,000) come from non-European countries. The largest group are Syrians (588,301), followed by Turks (259,447).
April 5. The newspaper Express revealed that the City of Cologne was paying a luxury boutique hotel €1.5 million ($1.8 million) a year to house migrants. In one case, the hotel was receiving €6,800 ($8,000) a month to house an Iraqi family of eight in a room sized 35 square meters (375 square feet).
April 6. The newspaper Express revealed that Andrea Horitzky, a board member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), was receiving monthly government payments of €32,500 ($38,500) to house 31 migrants at a hotel owned by her family. When questioned, Horitzky said: "I have guests from all over the world. That's my private business and it's none of your business. I certainly am not doing this for the money."
April 8. Police arrested six men suspected of plotting knife attacks against spectators at the Berlin Half Marathon. The lead suspect reportedly knew Anis Amri, a Tunisian who killed 12 people and injured several dozen more when he drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016.
April 9. In Berlin, an 18-year-old Turk named Görkem A. received a suspended sentenced of two years in juvenile detention for ambushing a 40-year-old female jogger from behind, bashing her head with a brick and robbing her. He then kicked her in the head. She was hospitalized for injuries that included a broken jaw. The suspect was arrested based on a surveillance video from a security camera. Lisa Jani, a court spokeswoman, defended the lenient sentence: Görkem A. must pay the victim €2,000 ($2,400) as "symbolic" compensation.
April 9. North Rhine-Westphalia's Integration Minister, Joachim Stamp, announced a proposal to prohibit girls under the age of 14 from wearing headscarves to school. Amid a public outcry, Stamp quickly appeared to retreat: "The goal," he said, "is not necessarily a law."
April 9. Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Interior Ministry, Stephan Mayer, said that he expected the passage of a new law that would deny passports to jihadis with dual citizenship. He added that confiscating the German passports of alleged jihadis was a "pressing goal."
April 11. One of Germany's leading economists, Hans-Werner Sinn, warned that the migrant crisis could end up costing German taxpayers more than one trillion euros:
"The cost to the taxpayer could also be higher. So far, there are about 1.5 million migrants who have come to Germany since 2015. And no: They are not dentists, lawyers and nuclear scientists, but mostly underqualified immigrants, who have arrived in the promised land — one flowing with milk and honey and where the standard of living without employment is higher than in many countries of origin with employment."
April 11. Der Tagesspiegel published an exposé about the bullying of German students at the hands of Muslims in Berlin schools:
"I'm in seventh grade at a high school in Schöneberg. There I am marginalized because I am German and eat pork. I am cursed in Turkish and Arabic. In German, I am insulted as a son of a bitch or f**ked whore. In addition, I am sometimes beaten and kicked. If I get too close to other boys, they call me gay and kick me. Girls in my class are called sluts when they wear strapless shirts. I've been trying to change school for many months but cannot find an empty slot. The Education Department and the school do not help me."
April 11. Alexander Dobrindt, a leading member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), a political party based in Bavaria, said that Islam "has no cultural roots in Germany." He added:
"Islam has no cultural roots in Germany and with Sharia as a legal system, it has nothing in common with our Judeo-Christian heritage. No Islamic country on earth has developed a comparable democratic culture like the ones we know in Christian countries."
April 11. A food bank in Essen called Essener Tafel resumed offering food to migrants after a three-month ban. The relief organization generated controversy when it announced in January that it would no longer serve migrants because the proportion of non-Germans was too high. At the moment, 56% are Germans, compared to just 25% in January.
April 12. Kollegah and Farid Bang, a Muslim rap duo accused of singing anti-Semitic lyrics, was awarded Germany's top music prize, the Echo Music Award. The prize, awarded on Holocaust Remembrance Day, sparked public outrage. Justice Minister Heiko Maas said that "anti-Semitic provocations do not deserve a prize; they are repugnant." In an essay for Die Welt, comedian Oliver Polak wrote that the normalization of anti-Semitism in popular music was part of the reason "that young Jewish people are chased around and beaten up in schoolyards." After an extraordinary meeting in Berlin, Echo's organizer, the Federal Association of the Music Industry (BVMI), announced the end of the music award.
Germany's top music prize, the Echo Music Award, was awarded on April 12 to Kollegah and Farid Bang, a Muslim rap duo accused of singing anti-Semitic lyrics. The prize, awarded on Holocaust Remembrance Day, sparked public outrage. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
April 12. A video posted on YouTube showed Muslim children at a mosque in Herford dressed in combat gear, equipped with toy weapons and covered with Turkish flags, pretending to be jihadis. In the background, listeners can hear the official election campaign song of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "We totally misjudged how this performance could be interpreted," said Necati Aydin, a representative of the mosque, which is run by the Turkish government.
April 12. German authorities launched a crackdown on Middle Eastern crime families in Essen, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia where some 70 Turkish, Kurdish and Arab-born clan members regularly engage in racketeering, extortion, money laundering, pimping and trafficking in humans, weapons and drugs. Middle Eastern crime clans now control large swathes of German cities and towns — areas that are effectively lawless and which German police increasingly fear to approach. The crime families, which are believed to have thousands of members, have for decades been allowed operate with virtual impunity: German judges and prosecutors were unable or unwilling to stop them, apparently out of fear of retribution.
April 12. The Interior Ministry reported that only ten of the more than 750 Islamist Gefährder (potentially highly dangerous persons) known to be residing in Germany have been deported during the past year. Parliamentarians called on the government to enforce an existing law which stipulates that individuals who pose a security risk be deported.
April 12. In the first test case of Germany's new internet censorship law, a court in Berlin ordered Facebook to restore a user's comment it had deleted. The case involved Facebook user Gabor B., who posted the following comment: "Germans are becoming increasingly stupid. No wonder, since the left-wing media litters them every day with fake news about 'skilled workers,' declining unemployment figures or Trump." Facebook said the comment violated its "community standards," but the court ruled that it was protected by the right to free speech.
April 13. A 33-year-old migrant from Niger fatally stabbed his ex-wife and her one-year-old daughter at the Jungfernstieg subway station in central Hamburg. In nearby Rendsburg, a 26-year-old Syrian man tried to decapitate his sleeping wife. She escaped with minor injuries. In Wuppertal, a 23-year-old migrant from India snatched a five-year-old boy from his family at the central railway station and pushed him in front of an oncoming train. The boy escaped with minor injuries; the man was known to police.
April 13. A 19-year-old Afghan asylum seeker was shot and killed by police after he went on a rampage at a bakery in Fulda. The Hesse State Criminal Police Office subsequently launched an investigation into why police used deadly force.
April 13. Three Syrians, aged 21, 23 and 27, were arrested in Saarland on suspicion of being members of Islamic State. All three arrived in Germany in 2015 posing as refugees.
April 14. An Emnid poll published by Bild found that 51% of those surveyed were worried about German no-go zones, areas where the state is unable or unwilling to enforce the law; 77% said that they wanted the state to take more forceful action against Middle Eastern crime families.
April 18. Two men wearing Jewish skullcaps were attacked by Arab-speaking passersby in Berlin. The assault, a video of which went viral on social media, highlighted the growing problem of Arab anti-Semitism in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "This is a terrible incident. That is why we will respond here. The fight against such anti-Semitic acts must be won, that is very clear. This unfortunately exists among Germans, but also among people of Arab origin." A representative of the Jewish community in Berlin, Mike Samuel Delberg, said: "Such things should not be swept under the carpet. The political lip service must stop."
April 19. A report by Germany's five leading economic institutes found that in order to preserve the existing social welfare system, Germans would either have to work until age 70 or annually import 500,000 migrants.
April 19. Germany's domestic intelligence service (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV), reported that more than 1,000 German Islamists and Islamists from Germany have traveled to Syria and Iraq to take part in combat operations with the Islamic State and other jihadi groups. This figure is up from 960 at the end of December 2017.
April 19. Eurostat, the European statistics office, reported that Germany had taken in 325,400 refugees in 2017, accounting for almost 60% of the 540,000 migrants resettled in the EU last year. Most were from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
April 20. Germany agreed to take in 10,200 refugees as part of a European Union plan to resettle 50,000 migrants from North Africa and the Middle East. EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the program of legal entry was designed to thwart smuggling gangs that illegally bring migrants to Europe.
April 22. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that refugees or people of Arab origin were responsible for the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany. In an interview with Israeli Channel 10 News, Merkel said: "We now have new phenomenon in having refugees or people of Arab origin who are bringing another form of anti-Semitism back into the country. This dismays us."
April 23. A 24-year-old Pakistani asylum seeker vandalized St. Mark's Church in Chemnitz. The man was arrested, questioned and released. He then vandalized St. Peter's Church, also in Chemnitz. Police blamed both incidents on the suspect's "mental health condition." Meanwhile, an "Asian man" sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl at a Jewish cemetery in Mülheim.
April 24. North Rhine-Westphalia's Integration Minister, Joachim Stamp, said it was not possible to deport a former bodyguard of the late Osama bin Laden because of fears that he could be tortured or treated badly in his homeland. The 42-year-old Tunisian named Sami A. has been living in Bochum for more than a decade. Stamp confirmed that Sami A. receives €1,168 ($1,450) each month in welfare payments. He lives with his wife and children, who have German citizenship.
April 24. In his first media interview as the new head of the influential GdP police union in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Michael Mertens was asked if there are any no-go zones in NRW, Germany's most populous state. He replied:
"There are areas where police do not go alone, only in large teams. Such areas are now present in almost all NRW cities. We must show a clear police presence and make it clear that everyone who lives in this country has to abide by the law."
April 26. Sibel H., a German-Turkish woman from Hesse, and Sabine S., a convert to Islam from Baden-Württemberg, returned to Germany on a flight from Baghdad after having joined the Islamic State in Syria. The Federal Prosecutor's Office had requested arrest warrants for the two women, but the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) ruled that the women should go free because no specific terrorist membership or support had been proven. The court treats males and females differently when assessing membership of or support for the Islamic State: male jihadis fight, torture or murder, while female jihadis mainly take care of the household, bear children and care for husbands and offspring. According to the Federal Court, such acts are not punishable because they do not constitute explicit support for terrorism.
April 27. A man with an "Arab phenotype" sexually assaulted four children between the ages of 11 and 12 at a zoo in Magdeburg. A 24-year-old "North African born in Palestine" was arrested after repeatedly raping at knifepoint a 46-year-old woman in her garden in Berlin.
April 28. Felix Klein, the German government's newly appointed special envoy to Jewish community, said he was not surprised that Jews are leaving Germany: "It is quite understandable that those who are scared for the safety of their children would consider leaving Germany," he said. "I hear this from my own Jewish friends. But we must do everything to avoid that." Klein also said that anti-Semitism in Germany is being fueled by mass migration from the Muslim world: "There is a tendency — anti-Semitic sentiment is more openly expressed. Anti-Semitism among Muslims and the extreme right and left existed before. But it is being expressed more unashamedly. Yes, the situation has become worse."
April 30. A study by Mediendienst Integration, an information service focused on immigration, found that demand for Islam courses in German schools far outstrips supply. Around 54,000 students at 800 schools across the country currently receive Islam religion lessons, although number of Muslim children aged six to 18 at German schools is now believed to be around 750,000 to 800,000.