Officials in Slovakia are refusing to take Muslim migrants as part of the EU’s migrant resettlement plans, claiming that they won’t fit in as the country doesn’t have any mosques. Instead the offer to take 200 Christians from Syria was made as an alternative.
According to the Express, Slovakia’s Interior Ministry has confirmed that it will turn Muslims away as they have nowhere to worship.
Spokesman Ivan Metik said: “We could take 800 Muslims but we don’t have any mosques in Slovakia so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?
“We want to really help Europe with this migration wave but we are only a transit country and the people don’t want to stay in Slovakia.”
However, EU officials are pushing back against Slovakia’s plans, with one source suggesting that by discriminating in this way, the country is leaving itself open to legal challenges.
“We act here in the spirit of the treaty, which prevents any form of discrimination,” a Commission spokesman said.
The United Nations has also urged Slovakia to take the Muslim migrants. Babar Baloch of the UN’s refugee agency said: “Resettlement is greatly needed for many refugees who are at extreme risk among the world’s most vulnerable groups.
“We encourage governments to take an inclusive approach while considering refugees for resettlement and should not base their selection on discrimination.”
In May, the Commission announced plans to resettle 40,000 migrants who had arrived in Italy and Greece after the governments of those countries protested that they were unable to cope with the wave of migration coming across the Mediterranean.
It also planned to resettle a further 20,000 migrants who had not yet made the journey, but whose applications were being processed outside of the EU.
Slovakia were allocated 785 migrants from the first round, and a further 319 from the second round of allocations. Britain gained an exemption from the first round, but was then allocated 2,309 migrants from the second round.
Germany and France were in line to accept the most migrants under the EU’s program – France were allocated 9127 migrants and Germany 11,849. However, those figures pale in comparison to the true scale of migration that has been realised over the last few months: Germany is expecting to receive a record 800,000 migrants by the end of the year.
An estimated 110,000 migrants have swept into Europe in the last month alone, in what is thought to be the largest single mass movement of people into Europe ever seen.