When Daniela Handwerk looked out of her window earlier this month and saw the church across the street being emptied out and turned into a refugee shelter, she panicked - and she was not alone.

As news of the plan to house 50 refugees in the church and suspend Sunday services spread through this community on the outskirts of Oberhausen, in the Ruhr valley, angry residents pressed church and city officials to reconsider.

Some worried about safety, others about real estate values and, at a raucous meeting of locals held in the church shortly before the refugees arrived, one man complained that his new Mercedes might get scratched.

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