Jonathan Le Tocq said “negativity” would make it difficult to guarantee the safety of any migrants who were welcomed in Guernsey.
The chief minster of the island in the English Channel said there was a danger some residents would be unwelcoming despite most locals showing compassion.
Mr Le Tocq said: “There’s certainly a lot of Islamophobia and negativity that’s been around and that would entail that it would be difficult for us to ensure that [the refugees] would find the sorts of security and stability here in Guernsey, were they to be resettled here, in the same way as they are, say, in other parts of the UK.”
Aid worker Eddie Parks branded the minister’s comments “awful” and “disgraceful”.
The former journalist said the remarks were an “awful commentary” on Guernsey and that the island had an “amazing reputation” for accepting “other people coming in from outside” going back to the mid-19th century.
Mr Le Tocq’s comments followed the announcement that Guernsey would not accept Syrian refugees as part of the UK’s Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.
The Government said the island lacked the “supporting infrastructure which meets [refugees’] specific needs” and that there was a number of legal and practical issues relating to refugee rights which must be resolved.