The German push came at an EU Interior Ministers meeting Thursday in Brussels in which it was agreed to delay any decision on increasing Iraqi refugee intake until September.
The move aroused anger of many refugees who fled violence in Iraq.
“Germany has the right to refuse to take us in but it cannot ask other countries to deny the humanity of welcoming refugees,” said one refugee.
Some Iraqi refugees think that the EU decision was influenced by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is seeking to bring Iraqis back home.
The refugees however say returning to Iraq would not be easy as most of them have had their homes appropriated by others after they fled.
Meanwhile, some Iraqi Christian refugees think that the EU offer to take them in has come a bit too late. “Why didn’t it come in mid-2005 when killings and acts of violence were taking place,” said one 61-year-old refugee.
Every month, Germany takes in an average of 600-700 Iraqi refugees, most of them Christians.
The EU decision was also criticized by the evangelical church in Germany and some human rights groups including Amnesty International.
Iraq’s Christians from the largest Chaldean rite community were estimated to be 800,000 before the US-led invasion in 2003. However, the number now in Iraq is thought to be half this figure.
DPA news agency (nda)