Slovakia ‘will only accept Christian refugees’

Eastern European countries faces EU and UN criticism

Slovakia says it will only accept Christian refugees once it takes in Syrians under an EU relocation scheme to rehouse 40,000 migrants currently in southern Europe.

The eastern European country will receive 200 people from the Middle East, its Interior ministry spokesman Ivan Metik said Muslims would not be accepted because they would not feel at home and there are no mosques to pray in.

The decision has been criticised by the EU and UN refugee agency (UNHCR), which has called on countries to take an “inclusive approach” to take in refugees.

The number of migrants entering the EU’s borders reached a record of 107,500 in July, most from Syria, Afghanistan and sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr Metik told the BBC: “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.

“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?”

Under EU law member states are banned from any form of discrimination in accepting refugees.

One-quarter of Syria’s pre-war population of 2m are displaced. Some 3 million Syrians of all creeds are refugees abroad, with 6.5 million displaced internally.

Babar Baloch, Central Europe spokesman for the UNHCR, 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.”


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