German Chancellor Angela Merkel has “firmly” rejected calls to reverse her open door policy toward refugees following a string of attacks in the country within a week.
Speaking to reporters Thursday in Berlin after interrupting her vacation, Merkel said the assailants wanted to undermine Germany's sense of community and the country’s openness and willingness to help people in need. Germany firmly reject that, she said.
"The terrorists want to make us lose sight of what is important to us, break down our cohesion and sense of community as well as inhibiting our way of life, our openness and our willingness take in people who are in need ," Merkel said. "They sow hatred and fear between cultures and they sow hatred and fear between religions. We stand decisively against that."
She called the four most recent terror attacks in Germany “shocking, oppressive and depressing,” but not a sign that authorities have lost control over the situation.
Referring to the four terror attacks in Germany since July 18 and deadly attacks in France, Belgium, Turkey and in the U.S. state of Florida, Merkel said that "taboos of civilization” had been broken, when attackers targeted public places "where any of us could have been," Merkel said.
"These attacks (in Germany) combined with what we've seen in Nice, and the horrible murder of a Catholic priest in Normandy the day before yesterday, the massacre of gay and lesbian people in Orlando a couple of weeks ago, the terrorist attacks in Belgium and again and again in Turkey with also German victims - these attacks are shocking, oppressive and depressing. Civilized taboos have been broken, the attacks happened in places where any of us could have been."
Merkel said she will continue to insist that Germany “will manage” the challenges it faces. The government “will do everything humanly possible to ensure security in our free, democratic state of law,'' she said.
A spate of attacks in Germany since July 18 left 15 people dead, including four attackers, and dozens injured.
Three of the four attackers were asylum-seekers. For two of the assaults Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Merkel, however, reaffirmed her position that Germany would uphold its principles in giving shelter to those who need and deserve it.
Since last year, Germany opened its borders to over one million migrants and refugees fleeing war, persecution and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and most of them from Syria.