- Title: In Germany, Syrians worry Afghan crisis could fuel anti-migrant vote
- Date: 23rd August 2021
- Summary: VARIOUS OF MODAMANI SCROLLING THROUGH PHONE
- Embargoed: 6th September 2021 09:28
- Keywords: German Chancellor Angela Merkel Syrian election legacy migrant policy migrant refugee crisis 2015 selfie vote
- Location: BERLIN & PASSAU, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN & PASSAU, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Europe,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA002ERI1SG7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Some of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees living in Germany on asylum visas are concerned that an Afghan migrant crisis could fuel an anti-immigrant vote at a national election next month and block their path to citizenship.
Already, the Taliban's lightning takeover of Afghanistan has sparked a chaotic flight of thousands of Afghans and foreigners from Kabul airport this week, raising fears of a larger exodus across land borders as the Islamist militants impose sharia law.
Germany's scramble to evacuate thousands of local helpers from Afghanistan, along with its own citizens, has turned immigration into a big issue in the election campaign as voters worry about a possible repeat of Europe's 2015 migrant crisis.
Anas Modamani, among the close to 800,000 Syrians who fled the war at home and resettled in Germany is still waiting to qualify for citizenship and is afraid the Afghan crisis could harden German voters against immigration.
Modamani said Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom he posed for an iconic selfie at a Berlin migrants shelter in September 2015, "saved my life" with her decision that year to open Germany's border to almost one million asylum seekers.
"I'm worried about what immigration policies will come our way once she's no longer chancellor," said Modamani, 24, as Merkel prepares to step down after Germany's Sept. 26 election.
His picture with Merkel became a symbol of her decision in 2015 to gamble her political capital on welcoming 1 million unscreened migrants, mainly from Syria. But her conservative Christian Democrats now vow there can be no repeat of 2015.
An INSA poll on Sunday (August 22) showed Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) tied at 22%.
About two thirds of Germans fear events in Afghanistan could lead to a large number of people fleeing to Germany in a repeat of the migrant crisis six years ago, a scenario that other parties also want to avoid.
With Merkel soon leaving office, Syrians like Modamani fear that the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) could capitalise on Germans' angst about an Afghan migrants influx to boost its share of the vote.
Sunday's INSA poll showed the AfD at 12%, up from 11% a week earlier.
(Production: Martin Schlicht, Tanya Wood, Joseph Nasr)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None