“It is important that they quickly receive supportive measures and training so that they are not just hanging around doing nothing,” Aydan Özoguz told Funke Media Group on Thursday.
Özoguz made her remarks after six Syrians and a Libyan between the ages of 15 and 21 were charged with attempted murder after they set fire to the clothes of a homeless man who was sleeping in a Berlin U-Bahn station on Christmas Eve.
The 37-year-old man was not injured after bystanders rushed to put out the flames.
The crime was abhorrent and no attempt should be made to justify it, Özoguz said. But she added that “such crimes won't be prevented if we decide to stop helping refugees stand on their own two feet here.”
“We all need to work as hard as we can to give them contact points in our society.”
André Schulz, chairman of the Federation of Criminal Investigators (BDK) said that a lack of opportunities was leading some young refugees into crime.
“Many young refugees hoped for a better life here. But the chances don't exist or are too limited,” he told Funke Media Group.
“Young men are bored and don't see a future for themselves,” he warned, adding that this made it more likely they would fall into criminality.