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German Newspapers Print 4 Page ‘Welcome’ Leaflet In Arabic, Football Stadium Used for Migrants

Two German newspapers have published a special supplement in Arabic, welcoming refugees and giving them advice on where to go for services.

The top-selling Bild newspaper and Berlin’s BZ, both produced by the same publisher, put out the four-page insert in Wednesday’s editions, headlined “Welcome to Berlin; You have finally reached Berlin, what do you need to do now?”

A map of the capital, labeled in Arabic, points out refugee housing centers, health care clinics, playgrounds, language schools offering free courses and other places of importance.

It also includes a short list of Arabic-German phrases, and details on the regulations for asylum seekers.

Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller’s message greeting the refugees, also in Arabic, says they will find that “the German capital is an open, tolerant and international metropolis.”

Greek authorities say they have completed screening more than 17,000 refugees and migrants stranded in miserable conditions on the island of Lesbos, and most have boarded ferries for the mainland.

A football stadium has been enlisted as a screening center, and police sent more staff and fingerprinting equipment to accelerate the process. Nearly half the migrants reaching Greece in small boats from Turkey arrive on Lesbos, and sleep rough there until they can be registered.

Police said Wednesday the screening center will continue to handle some 3,000-4,000 people who arrive every day.

About 10,000 people left Lesbos this week in ferries for the mainland.

Norway’s migration agency has turned down an offer from an Oslo mosque to provide shelter for migrants and refugees, saying such housing needs to be religion-neutral.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration is scrambling to find housing for a growing stream of asylum-seekers coming to the wealthy Nordic country.

But agency spokesman John Olav Kroken says the offer from the Islamic Cultural Center, Norway’s first mosque, was turned down because housing migrants in a place of worship would be against the rules.

“It cannot be a mosque or a church,” he said. “I think they were disappointed because they wanted to help.”

The Islamic Cultural Center said it respected the agency’s decision and that it would make its premises and staff available to help should the need arise in the future.

Norway received more than 2,300 asylum-seekers in August, the highest monthly number since the Balkan wars in the 1990s.

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