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German kindergarten refuses to employ Syrian over parents' 'concerns'

A nursery in Lower Saxony has come under fire for saying they didn't employ a Syrian man due to "justifiable concerns" from some parents. The Evangelical-Lutheran Diocese of Hanover has criticized the decision.

A mother of a child who attends the Evangelischen Kindertagesstätte Bleckede (Bleckede Protestant Daycare) originally posted a photograph of the notification on Facebook on Thursday.

"Due to the justifiable concerns some parents have about us employing a Syrian male, [name removed] will not be working with us," the letter wrote.

The image, which since gone viral across social media, was later shared by other Facebook users and posted on Twitter.

'Unfortunate phrasing'

"The very unfortunate phrasing could insinuate that there was general concern of violence from male asylum seekers," Pastor Sven Quittkat said in a statement.

According to the Evangelical-Lutheran Diocese of Hanover, the kindergarten had considered taking on the asylum-seeking Syrian as a temporary employee who would not be involved in educational tasks with the children.

In this particular case, however, employing the man was not possible as anyone wanting to work with children is legally required to hold a criminal record certificate - something that is not currently available to asylum seekers.

"Regardless of this, some parents still raised concerns about allowing a foreign man to work on the premises," the pastor said, adding that the diocese "sincerely regretted the incident."

Concern over refugee crisis

The blunder by the kindergarten came as tensions run high over refugees in Germany.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Thomas Petersen from the Allensbach Opinion Institute said people were

"naturally very concerned about the large numbers of refugees that have arrived [in Germany].

"Therefore, they are a little scared that the peace and safety that we once enjoyed is now in danger of disappearing," he said.

Bans on asylum seekers

Anxiety over public safety has particularly increased since the sexual assaults on New Year's Eve in Cologne and other German cities. Many witnesses described the perpetrators as being of Arab or North African appearance.

Although Germany has a clear anti-discrimination law that forbids unequal treatment based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, age or sex, January has seen

pubs and bars in Freiburg, as well as a swimming pool in Bornheim, initiate bans on refugees

- some of which have now been lifted.

"We've been watching with concern that, after the terrible events in Cologne, refugees are generally under suspicion and that the discrimination laws are being circumvented," Christine Lüders, director of Germany's Anti-Discrimination Agency, told DW, warning that this "opens the door to racism."

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