The owner of a gay club in Berlin has reported an increase in hate crimes against LGBTQ individuals, specifically mentioning migrants as perpetrators. Carla Pahlau, the owner of ‘Busche’ club, expressed her concerns in an open letter to Berlin Mayor Kai Wegner. She stated that there has been a significant rise in offenses against homosexual people in recent months, with a majority of the offenders being migrants with a Muslim background.
Pahlau’s concerns further escalated due to the city’s plans to open a migrant shelter across the street from her club. The shelter is expected to house up to 650 migrants from Turkey, Syria, and Afghanistan. She fears that this proximity between her club’s patrons and the newcomers will jeopardize the safety of her customers and ultimately put her club’s existence at risk.
Members of Berlin’s legislature from the opposition Christian Democratic Party, Kurt Wansner and Timur Husein, support Pahlau’s criticism of the shelter’s location. They describe the decision to establish the shelter in an already crime-ridden area as a “catastrophe,” believing that it will only exacerbate the existing issues. However, Vice-Mayor Oliver Noll, representing the Left party, argues that both the local residents and the incoming migrants will have to adapt and get used to each other.
While some politicians and club owners express concerns about the potential conflicts between LGBTQ individuals and migrants, others believe that social workers will be able to address and resolve any issues that arise. A member of the Social Democratic Party pointed out that social workers should be capable of successfully integrating the newcomers into their new surroundings.
Germany’s plans to ease entry and citizenship requirements for foreign workers have been discussed in May. German Labor Minister Hubertus Heil announced intentions to offset workforce shortages by allowing non-nationals to apply for citizenship after as little as three years’ residency. The country also plans to introduce its own ‘Green Card’ and lift the ban on dual citizenship.
The issue of hate crimes against LGBTQ individuals, particularly those carried out by migrants, continues to be a point of contention in Berlin. The concerns raised by club owner Carla Pahlau highlight the need for effective integration measures and dialogue between different communities. It remains to be seen how the city authorities will address these concerns and ensure the safety and well-being of all residents.