Arabic-speaking refugees in Germany now have a newspaper that facilitates their integration and addresses their needs and concerns.
"Abwab" an Arabic word for doors, is the first Arabic newspaper in Germany targeting Syrian, Iraqi and other Arabic-speaking refugees in the country.
Ramy Alasheq, a Syrian-Palestinian poet and journalist, who is also a refugee in Germany, is the newspaper’s editor.
Abwab was launched on 1st December 2015 with a print run of 45,000 copies distributed free of charge in refugee shelters and community centres across Germany.
The monthly newspaper is published by New German Media, the German branch of My Own Media. The company publishes several newspapers for minority communities in Italy and the UK including Ziarul Romanesc Germania, the only free-press weekly for Romanians in Germany.
Abwab is a “non-political, cultural, social and independent monthly newspaper,” said Federica Gaida, Director of New German Media. “Apart from providing refugee communities relevant news and guides to facilitate their integration in Germany, we strive to focus on the women and men that make up the community. We want to tell their stories, put them at the heart of our project, make them feel welcome as persons.”
The newspaper aims to help those fleeing from violence and recovering from trampled dignity to settle into their new country of refuge, build human connections and learn to how to set up a new life in Germany.
“With Abwab we mean to spark a conversation on shared values, on issues that are topical not for our culture or their culture but for all of us,” Ms Gaida stressed.
By reading Abwab, refugees get information about their home countries, their new country of refuge as well as information from refugee communities throughout Germany.
The newspaper publishes easy-to-read guides on German laws on asylum and refugees. It also contains helpful information about living in Germany contributed by German activists and journalists.
Commenting on the recent sexual assaults and muggings by men on New Year's Eve in Cologne, Ms Gaida said: “German women as well as refugee or migrant women have a right to be free from harassment. As women we are vulnerable to discrimination and harassment everywhere, so the Cologne assaults should lead to a serious debate on how to protect all women from harassment.”