The growing persecution of religious minorities in Iraq has led to a steep rise in the number of Iraqis seeking refuge in Germany, official figures showed Friday.
Germany saw a sharp increase in the number of Iraqi refugees in 2008
Some 6,428 Iraqis applied for asylum during the first 11 months of 2008, a rise of 64 percent from a year ago, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees said.
Nearly one-third of the 20,436 asylum seekers registered between January and November came from Iraq, said Michael Kleinhans, who heads the department responsible for processing asylum applications.
Kleinhans attributed the increase to moves by Germany to ease asylum requirements for members of certain religious minorities.
In the case of Muslim Iraq, this applied to Christian groups such as Sabean Mandaeans, as well as Kurdish-speaking Yazidis.
The official said that 90 percent of the Iraqis had their requests for asylum approved.