A mob of approximately 1,000 young men shouting "Allah hu Akbar" set Germany's oldest church on fire on New Year's Eve. According to a report on Polish television, Germany's federal government ordered that all surveillance video of the attacks be kept under wraps. However, images of the vandalism are circulating on YouTube.
 
The attack occurred during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Dortmund when the mob launched fireworks at police and set fire to the historic church. At least one man was hospitalized after receiving burns to his face and hands after pyrotechnics were thrown at a group of homeless who live outside Dortmund's main train station. At least 25 other persons were injured during the incident, some seriously. However, police reported that the festivities were “quiet” and “normal.”
However, by 11:30 p.m. police sent in reinforcements. It was then that police reported a “large number of young men from North Africa” were in Dortmund who showed an “aggressive mood” towards the public and police. By midnight, the situation grew worse. The mob of young men began throwing fireworks at visitors, including families with children. When officers demanded that they desist, the mob responded by pelting them with rockets and fire crackers. 
Despite laws prohibiting the use of pyrotechnics near churches, fire brigades were called into action when fireworks were thrown and launched at historic at St Reinolds, Germany’s oldest church. The roof was soon set ablaze. According to the Ruhr Nachrichten newspaper, a "group of Syrians sang in celebration of the ceasefire in Syria.” However, a video posted to Twitter by one of the newspaper’s reporters showed a group of men chanting ‘Allahu Akhbar’ around the flag of al-Qaeda and Islamic State collaborators, the ‘Free Syrian Army’.
 
In December, before the Muslim attack, St. Reinold’s Church was occupied by Germans to protested against the Islamisation of Germany. Pastor Friedrich Stiller denounced the demonstration as a “clear provocation by neo-Nazis.”  Dortmund’s ‘Special Commissioner for Tolerance and Democracy’ demanded more public funds to the city's "neo-Nazi deradicalization program" after that “The money the city gives, 50,000 euros per year, is no longer enough,” Hartmut Anders-Hoepgen, said.
 
In Hamburg, 14 women were the victims of sexual assaults while over 45,000 people celebrated New Year’s Eve in the city. Police said the suspects, who were mostly migrants, grabbed their victim’s crotches. Ten people have been arrested in connection with the sexual assaults. Police say that two Afghans, one German, one Eritrean, three Iraqis, and three Syrians were arrested in connection with sexual assaults committed in Große Freiheit and Beatles Square. 


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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