Poland’s reluctance to accept asylum seekers from Muslim countries

Saturday 30 June 2018

Poles would rather drop the EU than to accept Muslim asylum seekers

WARSZAWA (VG) Poland’s reluctance to accept asylum seekers from Muslim countries has led to a deep divide in the EU, and a tough day for the country’s Muslim minority.

The building located on a small hill of Warsaw is bright and modern in the design, inviting and atypical of a mosque.

“We wanted a glass facade with full-blown insight to show people that we are open to everyone,” says Director at the largest Islamic Cultural Center in Poland, Abdul Jabbar Koubaisy, to VG.

The idea was good, but on the grass outside the house of God there is evidence that many people are not interested in insight into Koubaisys culture. In fact, they want both him and built away. Seven large windows were broken this time, to a total of 100,000 kroner. It’s far from the first time it happens. A total of 27 glass windows have been destroyed by vandalism in the past.

“It used to be not as bad as this, but the last couple of years hated Muslims here has become far more prevalent,” says Koubaisy from a mosque bath in the evening light.

Only two men have come to pray this evening.

Migration conflict puts the EU in crisis

Together with Hungary and the Czech Republic, Poland has torn the EU by refusing to accept asylum seekers from Muslim countries. The three countries have been appealed by the European Commission for their failure to comply with the EU Agreement, which aims to allocate 160,000 new arrivals between countries within the Union.

The agreement is from 2015, the same year as the Law and Justice Party (PiS) made a bracket election. The country’s very conservative authorities say that they, and not the EU, will have full control over who they may accept in the country.

“The government so openly puts Muslims up against the Catholic, has awakened instincts in Poles, as we have not seen in the same way before,” said Culture Center Director Koubaisy.

Migration is at the top of the agenda when the heads of state from all EU member states come together for the summit Thursday and Friday this week.

Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary boycotted the preparatory extraordinary meeting on migration and asylum. The fragmentation within the Union is now so serious that it can lead to a collapse in Angela Merkel’s coalition.

Almost only poles

Poland is one of Europe’s most ethnically homogeneous countries. As many as 98 percent say that they are ethnic Polish, according to World Atlas figures from June 2018.

A majority of the poles, 51 percent say they are willing to let go of membership in the EU and all the subsidies that come with it, if they had to choose between the union and to receive more Muslim asylum seekers, a survey conducted by IBRiS for the newspaper Polityka. It is despite the fact that 71 percent of Poles think it is positive that the country is a member of the EU.

On the train on the way to the mosque in Warsaw, VG meets more people who openly say they are skeptical of immigration from Muslim countries. Cezary Dziukka and Monika justify the resistance to what they describe as incompatible religions.

“The Catholic Church says quite correctly that it is important to help. But it is difficult with Muslims because it is such a different religion. Your religion is dangerous, we see television reports from there. Islam leads to terrorism, means the middle-aged dressed man Cezary Dziukka.

Few Muslims

While the Juni River falls into Warsaw, it is warm and warm inside the Al Badia Restaurant, located at the back of the Muslim Cultural Center.

Holder Salim Shihada Alhamdane (33) is a rare success story. Just over ten years ago, Alhamdane came from the war-fought homeland of Iraq, and has built up the restaurant that has become a focal point for Muslims in Warsaw.

He says there have been unpleasant episodes, but he would rather focus on the good. “I think it’s just a phase,” he says about the current anti-immigration flows in Poland.

His three young dinner guests from Oman disagree.

“It’s almost impossible to make friends here. The poles do not want to talk to us, especially young men and the oldest, and as an Arab you can only forget to rent an apartment. It often happens that I’m called shells or pushed into the subway, says Saud Alriyamy (23) to VG over a plate of rice and chicken.

More attacks

Muslims make up less than 0.1 percent of Poland’s nearly 40 million inhabitants. Surveys show, however, that poles believe there are far more. On average, people say that believing Muslims accounted for 7 percent, showed a survey from Open Democracy last year.

After the law and justice party gained power in 2015, the number of attacks on Muslims rose from 192 to 362 the following year, according to AlJazeera.

The refugees that the EU will allocate between Member States is largely from Muslim countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

At a joint press conference with Polish Heads of State in May, Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban said that “we are a Christian people and we know what it means to help. But we can not

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