Refugees in Germany are being targeted in violent attacks at a rapidly increasing rate as more asylum-seekers from the Middle East arrive in the country. There were at least 150 attacks by anti-refugee groups on residences where asylum-seekers were housed last year, according to Al Jazeera America—three times the number of attacks than the year before.
A group of artists and activists who call themselves "Dies Irae" decided to tackle racist, anti-refugee sentiment by making fun of neo-Nazis in a series of billboards in the German town of Freital.
One of the posters says "Nazis Secretly Eat Falafel":
Others have a more straightforward message:
"Nobody would notice if you posted these in [a big city like] Dresden," one of the activists told the BBC, "but if you take action in a small town like Freital, they get attention."
For several months now, Freital has been the scene of intense anti-immigrant protests. Twenty-nine-year-old Ibrahim Alalelayan, an asylum-seeker living in one of the town's hotels, told the Independent, "When we go out, the people from around here stare at us in a bad way. They shout things at us in German. If we go out at all we go out in groups because we are afraid.”
In other parts of Germany, too, places where asylum-seekers are staying have been set on fire and surrounded by mobs, the Independent reports. Germany, which traditionally takes in one of the highest numbers of refugees in the world, is in the middle of a national debate as more asylum-seekers arrive from Syria, the Balkans, and other parts of the world. A few weeks ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a young Palestinian refugee cry on national television when she told her some asylum-seekers just can't stay in Germany.