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Slovakia refuses to accept Muslim migrants

Slovakian-m_3412465bMigrants, thought to be from Syria, are packed into a rented vehicle from Austria at the Cunovo border crossing, Slovakia.  Photo: Barcroft Media

Country will refuse entry to Muslims among quota of 200 migrants, on grounds that country has “no mosques”, as German mayor threatens to seize private homes to house asylum seekers

Slovakia has said it will not accept any Muslims under an EU scheme to share migrants more evenly between member states.

“We want to help Europe with the migration issue. 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?” Ivan Metik, an interior ministry spokesman, said.

Slovakia is to host 200 migrants under an EU plan to redistribute 40,000 away from Italy and Greece, which are overwhelmed with the numbers arriving across the Mediterranean.

The Slovakian government said it plans to ask the migrants their religion on arrival.

The European Commission expressed its displeasure at the Slovakian plans. “We act here in the spirit of the treaty, which prevents any form of discrimination,” Annika Breidthardt, a spokesman, said.

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While it is legal to prioritise Christians who are at extra risk of persecution because of their religion, turning away Muslims because there are no mosques would be discriminatory and of dubious legality, according to one EU source.

The number of migrants registered at the EU’s borders more than tripled in July to 107,500 compared to the same month last year, according to figures released by Frontex, the EU agency.

It passed the record 100,000 in a single month for the first time since the EU’s border control agency began keeping records in 2008.

The row came as a mayor in Germany threatened to use emergency powers to seize empty private homes in order to house asylum-seekers.

Boris Palmer, the Green Party mayor of Tübingen, told Welt newspaper the town was struggling to find accommodation for migrants.

“The Police Law has clear rules. If there is a threat of homelessness in a city, vacant houses can be seized for accommodation,” Mr Palmer said.

“And this emergency can happen when shelters are overcrowded and on some days 50 refugees are still arriving at a time, as they are now in Tübingen.”


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