I've Worked with Refugees for Decades. Europe's Afghan Crime Wave Is Mind-Boggling.

Migrants and refugees beg Macedonian policemen to allow passage to cross the border from Greece into Macedonia during a rainstorm, near the Greek village of Idomeni, September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis/File Photo

Afghans stand out among the refugees committing crimes in Austria and elsewhere. Why?

A while before, in Vienna, a young female Turkish exchange student had been pursued into a public restroom by three Afghan refugees. They jammed the door shut and proceeded to savagely attack her. Grabbing her by the neck, they struck her head repeatedly against a porcelain toilet bowl to knock her out. When that failed to break her desperate resistance, they took turns holding her down and raping her. The young woman required a hospital stay, after which—too traumatized to resume her studies—she fled home to Turkey, where she continues to be depressed and miserable, unable to process what happened and unable, in a conservative Muslim society, to talk about her experience to anybody except one best friend and confidante.

It took a while for the pattern to be recognized because, until recently, western European media deliberately refrained from identifying an assailant’s refugee or asylum status, or his country of origin. Only when the correlation became so dramatic that it was itself newsworthy did this policy change. At that point, it became clear that the authorities had known about, and for political reasons had deliberately covered up, large-scale incidences of sexual assault by migrants. For example, a gang of fifty Afghans who terrorized women in the neighborhood of the Linz train station had been brushed off by a government official with the remark that this was an unfortunate consequence of bad weather, and that once summer came the young men would disperse into the public parks and no longer move in such a large, menacing pack. The public was not amused.

I could write the same report about Sweden, Germany, or any other country of asylum in Europe, but I am focusing on examples from Austria because that’s the European country I come from and know best. So let’s take a look at the Austrian press. This from Österreich, the daily newspaper distributed for free on public transit and thus read, basically, by almost everyone. Front page: Afghan (eighteen) attacks young woman at Danube Festival. “Once again there has been an attempted rape by an Afghan. A twenty-one-year-old Slovak tourist was mobbed and groped by a group of men. She managed to get away, but was pursued by one of them, an Afghan asylum seeker who caught her and dragged her into the bushes. Nearby plainclothes policemen noticed the struggle and intervened to prevent the rape at the last moment.” Page ten: “A twenty-five-year-old Afghan attempted to rape a young woman who was sitting in the sun in the park. Four courageous passersby dragged the man off the victim and held him until the police arrived.” Page twelve: “Two Afghans have been sentenced for attempting to rape a woman on a train in Graz. The men, who live in an asylum seekers’ residence, first insulted the young woman with obscene verbal remarks before attacking her. When she screamed for help, passengers from other parts of the train rushed to her aid.”

Let’s leave aside the reprehensibility of this conduct for the moment and focus instead on its logic or lack thereof. Can these men possibly expect that their attempts will be successful? Do they actually think they will be able to rape a woman on the main street of a town in the middle of the day? On a train filled with other passengers? In a frequented public park in the early afternoon? Are they incapable of logical thought—or is that not even their aim? Do they merely want to cause momentary female hysteria and touch some forbidden places of a stranger’s body? Is that so gratifying that it’s worth jeopardizing their future and being hauled off to jail by scornful and disgusted Europeans? What is going on here? And why, why, why the Afghans? According to Austrian police statistics, Syrian refugees cause fewer than 10 percent of sexual assault cases. Afghans, whose numbers are comparable, are responsible for a stunning half of all cases.

Type two words into Google—Afghane and Vergewaltigung—and a cornucopia of appalling incidents unfolds before you. The mentally retarded woman in Linz, kidnapped, dragged to an Afghan refugee’s apartment and raped until she was finally able to escape into his bathroom, lock herself in and, as he battered at the door, crank open the window and scream for help. Incidents like that one point to a cold-blooded predator, with planning and premeditation.

Others are merely baffling. Public swimming pools are confronted with epidemics of young Afghan men who think it a good idea to expose themselves, whipping off their pants and standing there until tackled by the lifeguards and removed from the premises with orders to never return. Let’s be charitable: let’s assume that at some point, one or two of these young men might have heard stories of nudist beaches and thought to join in. But that’s hardly an explanation. Seriously; in a foreign country where your legal standing is tenuous, wouldn’t you cast a quick glance around to ensure that you are not the first and only man thus flaunting his ornamentation, before engaging in conduct that your entire upbringing has taught you to consider unthinkable? Come on!

Plus, within hours or days of their arrival, the Afghan-refugee grapevine educates newcomers as to the ins and outs of navigating the country: what offices to go to and what to say when you get there, where to apply for additional aid, where to find free housing and so on. If they can learn all of that, they can figure out the dress code.

So again: what’s going on? Why is this happening? And why the Afghans? A few competing theories are in circulation.

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