Slovakia refuses to accept Muslim migrants

Slovakia says it will refuse to accept Muslims amongst the 200 Syrian refugees that it will receive under a new EU relocation scheme

Migrants packed into a rented vehicle from Austria at the Cunovo border crossing, Slovakia
Migrants packed into a rented vehicle from Austria at the Cunovo border crossing, Slovakia

Slovakia has said that it will only accept Christian refugees, and no Muslim ones, when it takes in Syrian refugees under a 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?” Slovakian interior ministry spokesperson Ivan Metik said.

EU Commission spokesperson Annika Breithard said she could not comment directly on the Slovak statement, but insisted that EU states are banned from any form of discrimination.

UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch urged European governments to take an “inclusive approach” when considering refugees for resettlement and to not “base their selection on discrimination”.

Slovakia is set to accept 200 asylum seekers over the next two years through an EU scheme to redistribute 32,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece, which are overwhelmed with the migrant flows across the Mediterranean.

The scheme was made voluntary after some nations, including Slovakia, refused to accept set quotas.

Over 240,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean this year, arriving on the shores of Greece and Italy before travelling on to other European destinations.

Germany, the biggest recipient of asylum seekers in Europe, expects to receive as many as 800,000 applicants this year. If so, it would surpass its record 438,000 asylum applications in 1992 during the Bosnian crisis.