Many Germans' Views on Foreigners Sour After Cologne Attacks

More than a third of Germans said their views of foreigners had worsened in the wake of at least 200 alleged sex attacks by men roaming the crowds in Cologne during New Year's Eve, NBC News reported.

Police said the suspected attackers were "mostly from North African countries" and "asylum-seekers and persons who are currently in Germany illegally." At least 20 suspects have been identified.

The poll by the Forsa Institute found 37 percent of Germans had a more negative outlook on foreigners following the alleged assaults, while 60 percent said their view remained unchanged. Fifty-seven percent feared refugee arrivals would trigger a rise in crime, the poll also said.

Right-wing organizations have tried to capitalize on the backlash to the attacks, while German's Interior Minister urged Germans Monday not to treat all refugees and migrants with suspicion.

Pope Francis, meanwhile, told diplomats in Vatican City that the wave of migration "seems to be undermining the foundations of that 'humanistic spirit' which Europe has always loved and defended." But he called such difficulties "inevitable" and said he hoped Europe could "find the right balance" to absorb the migrants, Reuters reported. 

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