Friday, September 11, 2015

The Religious Story

'Focus', the German news magazine....put up a brief article this morning, with an odd story over the refugees and 'other' religious groups active in recruitment.

Naturally, most people expect the Salafists to be active, and recruiting in a soft-handed manner.  But after a couple of years of civil war and the mess created by ISIS....most Syrians will be skeptical of the Salafists and their message.

It's the other two groups mentioned in the article that gets your attention. Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientology.  Their angle?

The Jehovah's Witnesses claim that since the Catholic Church is active around the immigration centers....they ought to have the same right at 'recruitment'. The refugee center (based in the Stuttgart area) examined the facts and quickly put the Jehovah's Witness folks back a step or two.  First, the Catholic Church is merely running a charity distribution deal (clothing, toys, emergency needs, etc).  Second, the immigration center was not about to engage or allow others to engage in ideological warfare within its boundary.

Scientology?  What's been said is that Scientology has set up stands on the streets of Stuttgart and handed out literature (note, nowhere on the immigration center grounds).  It would be safe to say that almost no Syrian has ever heard of naturally as a newcomer to a land and having these wonderfully and cheerfully motivated people stand and explain ask questions.  I'm only guessing here....but I'd surmise that the literature came back into the immigration center grounds and got discussed.  Eventually, someone went to the front desk and asked stupid questions and it got the attention of the staff rather quickly.

I should note....after confronted....Scientology immediately noted that they weren't actively recruiting any Syrian.....just handing out literature and explaining the religion.  On a public street in Germany, with a permit....this is legal.

A smart guy would stand back and ponder upon this picture.  A lot of people.....not just from Syria, but from all walks of life....are fairly naive and are seeing things under a different light for the first time in their life.  It's a curious nature.  Sadly, when you talk of integration into Germany....there's no "get-smart" type of class where oddball things like this get explained.

As an American, I can probably think of a thousand things in Germany that should have been explained in some detail upon my various arrivals in the country.  Eventually, you figure these things out, but it takes a while.

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