On New Year’s Eve in the German city of Cologne, as many as 1000 male refugees are alleged to have sexually assaulted German women in the crowded town square. The Cologne police department received 516 accusations related to the incident — 40 percent of which were sexual assaults — according to a Jan. 11 Atlantic article. A Jan. 10 state report from the interior ministry of North Rhine Westphania, the region where Cologne is located, noted that perpetrators of the assault were “almost exclusively” migrants. Of the 19 suspects under investigation, 14 originate from Morocco and Algeria. 

According to the Gatestone Institute, dozens of reports of sexual assaults similar to those in Cologne have recently emerged, and the most frequent and most affected victims of these brutal attacks tend to be the European countries with the most lenient immigration policies — namely Germany, Sweden and Serbia. As migrants travel to the western and northern European welfare states, they exploit not only the liberal immigration policy but also the liberal culture. 

Instead of taking measures to prohibit the entrance or movement of refugees, Germany has made retroactive attempts to mitigate further sexual violence — even going as far as actually suggesting German citizens limit their own rights to expression and movement. In the German city of Pocking, girls were advised not to wear shorts, and in Mering, not to travel unaccompanied, according to the Gatestone Institute. By prompting these preposterous suggestions, these largely Muslim, Syrian and young male refugees are beginning to corrode the very principles upon which Western liberty stands.

German migration statistics report that 77.5 percent of refugees in the 18 to 25 age group to Germany in 2014 were males. 

According to AIDA, 70 percent of refugees to Germany in 2015 were Syrian, and according to the U.S. State Department, 87 percent of Syrians are Muslim. 

Other efforts to prevent further violence include sexual education classes for adult refugees with particularly different understandings about how women dress and how the genders interact. A Dec. 19 New York Times article details how Norway has been leading this vital sexual education effort since 2013. And a need for these programs began long before that. For example, in a prominent 2009 to 2011 series of rapes in the industrial Norwegian city of Stavanger, seventeen of the twenty perpetrators found to be guilty for rape were foreigners. A 2011 Norway state bureau of statistics finding corroborates this correlation, revealing that “immigrants [and, by extension, refugees] are overrepresented in the crime statistics.” 

Cultural rifts are often among expected baggage refugees bring with them to new nations. But unfortunately, many of the cultural and religious ideals, as well as formal laws, to which this group of refugees are accustomed are incompatible with Western norms and values. 

Many of the refugees originating from Muslim-majority countries “come from cultures that are not gender equal and where women are the property of men,” according to Per Isdal, a clinical psychologist in Norway who works with the nonprofit foundation Alternative to Violence. According to the Clarion Project, women in Muslim-majority countries are second-class citizens, often enduring what should be, in the 21st century, unanimously abolished heinous procedures such as female genital mutilation. According to a 2013 UNICEF report, over three million young girls between the ages of four and 12 across the world undergo this brutal violation of their basic rights each year, experiencing trauma and depression that frequently lasts a lifetime. Further, a Feb. 19, 2014 report by the Clarion Project also reveals that in most Muslim-majority countries, under Sharia law, “a man can divorce his wife by making a [simple] declaration … even her presence is not required. For a woman to divorce a man, his consent is required.” Both FGM and this double standard in divorce law encapsulate the larger issue of institutionalized misogyny and disregard for women’s rights entrenched in the culture of some of these countries.

Further, Muslim-majority countries produce sexually repressed men as well. According to “Inside Jihad” by Dr. Tawfik Hamid, under Islamic Sharia law marriage typically occurs at high ages for men and drastically low ages for women, relative to averages in the West. In fact, 25 percent of marriages in Syria and 28 percent in Iraq occur when girls are just 15 to 19 years old, according to UNICEF. In Syria, only 4 percent of men marry within that age group, indicating that men typically marry at higher ages. In addition, strict modesty laws in many Muslim-majority countries typically require women to conceal all skin other than their eyes or face. 

Originating from countries governed by these ideals and various levels of Sharia law, many migrants were substantially influenced by the systemic disregard for a woman’s humanity and autonomy. 

As the recent attacks in Europe demonstrate, these repugnant, cultivated attitudes and behaviors are not abandoned as migrants move west. Illustrating the cultural origin of many of these refugees could shed some light on — as the Gatestone Institute called it — the “epidemic” of rapes in Europe.

For years, European leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been welcoming refugees with open arms, but now they have begun to recognize potential flaws in their former policies. According to a Jan. 12 CNN article, following the Cologne attacks, Germany is relaxing refugee deportation restrictions, making it easier to repatriate refugees convicted of crimes. But the efficacy of this retroactive effort must be examined as Merkel maintains her commitment to accept asylum-seekers. As the risk of further attacks still looms, it seems that Merkel is too afraid of being branded racist or inconsistent to proactively restrict the admittance of refugees.  

It is a shame that the safety of Europe’s women is being sacrificed on the altar of humanitarianism and political correctness. Only after a country assures the protection and security of its own citizens should it concern itself with fostering a sensitive, multicultural sanctuary. 

According to a Nov. 19, 2015 CNN article, following the Paris attacks, 31 U.S. governors opposed the entrance of Syrian refugees, and citizens don’t stand very differently. A November poll from ABC News and the Washington Post discovered that 54 percent of Americans oppose accepting Syrian refugees. These majorities of both our state governments and citizenry evidently fear that some refugees may commit attacks similar to those in Europe. A follow-up question which established that 52 percent of Americans are not confident in our security screening process emphasizes that their concern is not solely based on ethnicity or religion but rather rooted in genuine worry about security efficacy. 

While the vast majority of refugees are people desiring nothing more than food and shelter, the United States must remain vigilant. All it takes is a single malevolent refugee to steal precious American lives.

To be clear, what is best for U.S. national security policy is not a blanket “guilty until proven innocent” approach. The fundamental tenet of our legal system, “innocent until proven guilty,” applies only after a crime has been committed. A radical change in our justice system is not necessary. Instead, our country’s leaders must engage in rational risk analysis and develop the most infallible strategy possible to minimize the potential threats posed by refugees. 

Rather than naively ignoring other countries’ mistakes, America’s leaders must view the tragedies in Europe as cautionary tales. Until America can be absolutely certain that refugees’ intentions are benign, allowing them U.S. entry would be imprudent and misguided. American policy for the Syrian refugee crisis must consider the European rape “epidemic” as precedent and embrace the full complexity this urgent issue.