Oil Rich Nations Treat Their Fellow Muslims as Second Class Citizens And Europe is Left Picking up the Pieces

Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis
Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis

This week, Prime Minister David Cameron issued his much-anticipated climb-down by announcing that the UK will now be taking in as many as 20,000 refugees from Syria following weeks where our news broadcasts have predominantly followed the journey of migrants from Turkey to Germany via Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary and Austria.

The UK has always been a safe haven for genuine people in crisis, fleeing what would otherwise be terrible persecution and death. In the 1930s, a countless number of European Jews, including 10,000 children from the Kindertransport were welcomed to our shores.

In 1972, Ugandan President Idi Amin ordered the expulsion of the Asian minority in the country. The property, business interests and wealth of Ugandan Asians was seized and they had just 90 days to leave.

The UK, rightfully and courageously, offered safe refuge for some 27,000 Ugandan Asians who otherwise would have suffered immensely.

Many of the Ugandan refugees were also amongst the most entrepreneurial in Africa.

It is often noted that Uganda’s loss was very much our gain as many of these refugees went on to create successful businesses with nothing more than the few possessions they could escape with.

What is happening today with refugees from Syria is very different indeed.

The civil war in Syria is very bloody and unforgiving. It has been raging for four and a half years with no end in sight.

Over four million refugees have now fled Syria since 2011 with Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan feeling the strain.

However, contrary to the myth being peddled in recent months that the UK has taken in only 216 refugees, government figures have shown that we have already accepted as many as 5,000 from Syria in recent years.

Let’s not forget that through our foreign aid bill, the UK is amongst the most generous nations in Europe.

The suggestion that the UK is not doing its bit for people in genuine need simply does not wash with me.

But the same cannot be said for the likes of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait to name but a few.

These oil rich, cash rich nations have all but closed their doors to Syrian refugees much like they turned their back on the Palestinians they treat as second class citizens.

Saudi Arabia, a very sparsely populated state, has even indicated that security is one of their main concerns when it comes to accepting refugees, but more about that later.

The exodus in recent months has seen mainly young, able men, smartphones and selfie sticks in hand, traversing numerous borders across Europe under the guise of seeking refuge from the carnage in Syria and Iraq that they have left behind.

Many are risking their lives crossing from Turkey into Greece in unseaworthy rafts and the tragic case of three year old Aylan Kurdi demonstrates the desperation some families face to reach the so-called Promised Land.

Once in Greece, they march north via Macedonia and Serbia to Hungary. Upon reaching Hungary, the borderless Schengen Area allows passport-less travel across much of the European Union.

As many of these refugees have travelled via Turkey, an EU applicant and NATO member, it does strike me as odd that they are still supposedly in a state of panic with a need to presumably escape further into Northern Europe.

The last time I checked, over 2.5 million Brits travelled to Turkey on holiday every year, yet it is from popular hotspots such as Bodrum where people risk their lives to reach the Greek island of Kos.

This same group of migrants recently had a televised stand-off with Hungarian officials at Budapest railway station, fearing that a train might be taking them to a local refugee camp and not Germany or Austria.

I am not convinced that all of these people are genuine refugees fleeing persecution. I think it could be argued that large numbers of these are simply opportunistic economic migrants, using refugee status as a way to circumvent immigration rules.

Also, I am concerned that the media narrative is suggesting that these people are coming predominantly on mass from Syria.

As you may know, the EU has spoken about accepting asylum seekers without question if that is their country of origin. However, here lies a problem.

Only last week, German customs officers seized a number of counterfeit Syrian passports and documents destined for aspiring migrants.

Likewise, Frontex, the EU border agency, have themselves admitted that many people using fake Syrian passports are from North Africa and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The issue of fake passports also brings us to another serious matter – security.

It is no secret that Islamic State are wanting to infiltrate Western Europe in the hope that ‘lone wolf’ terror attacks can occur in their name.

Only yesterday it was announced that the number of terror suspects detained increased 31% over the past year to 299. This is the highest number on record.

The number of suspects aged between 18-20 years old more than doubled and if we continue to allow this tide of people we know absolutely nothing about to continue unabated, then I suspect that number will only continue to increase.

There are no easy answers or quick fix solutions for Syria, but the current path of allowing 20,000 refugees from Syria into the UK over the next few years will do absolutely nothing to stop the tide of migrants from Africa and the Middle East journeying into the European Union.

After all, these migrants know full well that if they are granted citizenship from one EU member, there will be absolutely nothing, legally, to stop them continuing their journey into the UK.

It seems our political class has simplified the debate on this topic to very dangerous levels. While I totally accept that those seeking genuine refuge from persecution should be looked after, it is unacceptable to suggest that all those people flooding into Europe are genuine migrants fleeing persecution.

This view may be hard for the liberal left to accept but is one we must entertain if we are to address this situation effectively.


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