Some people have been asking us how we feel about the attacks in Cologne.
Of course we feel absolutely devastated. Devastated for the victims, and devastated for the many innocent refugees also shocked by these actions.
A group of Syrian men have been distributing the following message (but in German), at train stations and cafes in Cologne:
“We, men from Syria, condemn in the strongest possible terms abuse against women and the attack and robberies on New Year’s Eve.
We regret that women were injured, physically and in their honor.
We hope that they will recover well and soon from these attacks.
We hope that the perpetrators of these criminal acts will be found and punished.
Our cultural values were trampled by these crimes. Those values include respect for women and men, respect for bodily integrity, and respect for personal property.
We Syrians have come to Germany as refugees, because we want to live freely in this democratic society. We want to shape, to speak, and to live democracy.
We regret that the acts on New Year’s Eve have brought our group — a group of Syrians, a group of refugees and of other Arab or North African people — and our culture into disrepute.
We’ve fled an inhuman war, in order save our lives and our ability to remain human. We want peace and security and the opportunity to provide for our families through work.
We thank all the people in Germany, both women and men, for all of the help they have so far offered us.
We want to show ourselves worthy of your help. We remain united: Your values are our values.
Germany has done more for us than any other European or Arab country!
Signed, Syrian men for fairness”