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Germany Now Issuing Warnings to Refugees: ‘Don’t Touch Women’ at Public Pools

By many in the global community, Germany has become a cautionary tale about receiving refugees and migrants from around the world. To date since the start of the Arab Spring, Germany has welcomed in hundreds of thousands — by some estimates, 800,000 last year alone — from countries like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the country has admittedly seen a spike in violence and harassment reportedly by many refugees; “hundreds” of incidents during New Years celebrations alone sparked global outcry.

To combat some of the growing concerns of public behavior and to aid in the assimilation efforts of these migrants, one of Berlin’s largest pools now, “brac[es] for culture shock,” and issues a number of instructions to their new guests.

“[The refugees] don’t know how to behave,” says Hartmuth Kurzhals, a German social worker. “Most of them know. But some of them don’t.” Kurzhals helps run a team of conflict negotiators called “Bleib Cool am Pool” — “Staying Cool at the Pool” — that include instructions as blunt as, “Don’t touch women.”

According to the USA Today:

One Syrian refugee at the Columbiadamm Street pool, Jaber Zahraldeen, said Syrians and Germans must learn to respect each other’s body culture.

“If Arabs see a woman who wears a bikini, they have to accept it. And if Germans see a woman with a hijab, they have to accept it as well,” Zahraldeen said.

Other rules include observing basic pool hygiene, knowing how to swim, and a rule about not breaking the rules. “They are 13, 14, 15 years old. They don’t like to be told they can’t swim,” said one of the group’s mediators. Rescuing refugees who need to be saved from drowning has become a regular occurrence at these pools.

One of the Syrian refugees went as far as to admit the shortcomings of his uprooted countrymen. “The Syrians don’t keep the rules. They just want to jump anywhere. And this attitude plays a part in the statistics.”


[h/t USA Today]
[image via Flickr]

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