Slovakia Facing Backlash for ‘Christians Only’ Refugee Policy

AP Photo/Bilal Hussein
AP Photo/Bilal Hussein
Washington, DC

Slovakia has taken a controversial route in dealing with the ongoing European migrant crisis, with officials in Bratislava saying that they may only let Christians into the country, given the fear that Muslim refugees will not acclimate to their existing civil society.

Slovakia is facing pressure from the European Union to absorb 200 people sitting in Turkish refugee camps.

Interior ministry spokesman Ivan Netik excused the religiously discriminatory policy by saying that Muslims “would not be accepted because they would not feel at home,” the BBC reported. Slovakia’s population remains overwhelmingly Christian, with around three-quarters of the country identifying with the faith.

“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,” Netik explained. “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?”

But the UN’s UNHCR refugee agency has urged Slovakia to be more inclusive in its absorption practices.

“Resettlement is greatly needed for many refugees who are at extreme risk among the world’s most vulnerable groups,” said Babar Baloch, UNHCR’s Central Europe spokesperson. “We encourage governments to take an inclusive approach while considering refugees for resettlement and not base their selection on discrimination,” the spokesman added.

An astounding 107,500 migrants have infiltrated the EU since July, which is triple the number from last year, according to the UN. The continuing surge in human migration is credited to the ongoing civil war in Syria and several other bloody conflicts throughout the Middle East and North Africa.