The recent decision of Essener Tafel, a food bank in the city of Essen, Germany, temporarily to stop issuing membership cards to non-Germans has triggered an outcry among German politicians, journalists and activists, who have accused the charitable organization of “racism”. Serving about 16,000 poor people in the industrial city of Essen, Essener Tafel is one of the biggest charities in Germany, operated by volunteers only.
Essener Tafel’s announcement read:
“Due to the increase in the number of refugees, the share of foreign fellow citizens among our customers has increased to 75 percent. To guarantee a reasonable integration, we see ourselves forced currently to accept only customers with a German passport.”
A board member of Essener Tafel told the weekly Die Zeit that the five-member board had discussed and changed the wording of these two sentences “for hours… until no one had an objection”. Neither had there been any criticism from the migrants who had to be sent away or among other charities with which the Essener Tafel cooperates, he said.