Germany: Fight over Ramadan led to blaze at refugee center


Residents of a refugee center in the German city of Duesseldorf set their shelter alight after a fight among Muslim refugees over Ramadan meals, a prosecutor said Friday, in an incident that is likely to increase unease among anti-immigrant groups.



On Tuesday a fire ripped through the accommodation that was home to around 280 refugees on the site of Duesseldorf’s trade fair. All residents were brought to safety but 24 suffered from smoke poisoning.


Ralf Herrenbrueck, senior public prosecutor in Duesseldorf, said there had been disputes among Muslims living in the home over how to celebrate Ramadan – the Muslim holy month that revolves around daily fasts from dawn to sunset before meals during night hours – before the blaze broke out.


“There are two groups – one group wants to follow it strictly and so only eat when it’s dark while the other group wants to eat at normal times – for example because there are also pregnant women there,” he said.


Five migrants were detained but three have since been released because they could not be directly linked to the fire, Herrenbrueck said.