Tuesday, the German government came forward to condemn what they believe to be a rash of coordinated sexual assaults against women in the city of Cologne on New Years Eve which are believed to have been perpetrated by a large group of Muslim males.
According to reports, Justice Minster Heiko Maas stated that the government will be conducting a full investigation into the matter which is said to include dozens of seemingly planned assaults, however, he has strongly advised the public to avoid scapegoating Muslim migrants.
Despite the fact that the victims have described the men involved as Arab, the Justice Minster explained that Germans need to avoid Making an issue out of the incident. Maas further went on to added that Germans should not lump the incident together with the refugee issue because doing so would be nothing but exploitation.
Justice Minister Heiko Mass [sic] called for a thorough investigation of the rash of attacks, ranging from groping to at least one reported rape, allegedly committed in a large crowd of revellers during year-end festivities at the citys main train station.
This represents a new dimension of crime that we will have to get to grips with, he told reporters, adding that the assaults had appeared to be coordinated.
Asked by a journalist whether the attackers could have been refugees, Maas said police were still working to identify them.
This is not about where someone is from but what they did, he said.
Making an issue out of it, lumping it together with the refugee issue, is nothing but exploitation. Now is the time to determine the facts and then decide on the necessary consequences.
Police in Cologne said they had received 90 criminal complaints by Tuesday and quoted witnesses as saying that groups of 20-30 young men who appeared to be of Arab origin had surrounded victims, assaulted them and in several cases robbed them.
We assume more people will come forward, a police spokesman told German news agency DPA.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said he was also stunned by the despicable attacks.
However this must not lead to refugees of whatever origin, who are seeking our protection from persecution, being placed under general suspicion.