Germany urges against linking refugees with Paris attacks

Germany's justice minister warns against linking refugees with perpetrators of Friday’s Paris terror attacks, as many western countries refuse to accept refugees

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A child is lifted off, as migrants and refugees disembark, helped by life guards, on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey on November 16, 2015

Germany's Justice Minister, Heiko Maas, warned on Monday against making a hasty assumption regarding there being a link between the refugees and the assailants of the Paris attacks, warning that DAESH could be trying to exploit the issue over Europe's refugee influx and their policies.

The French authorities' discovery of a Syrian passport near the corpse of one of the suicide bombers in particular, has ignited great concerns that at least one of the perpetrators might have entered Europe along with the thousands of Syrians fleeing their country's war.

However, the Justice Minister stated that "we are aware that the IS (Islamic State) is known to leave such false tracks behind to politicise and radicalise the issue over refugees in Europe," and due to that we need to behave with "very, very great prudence, until things are clear".

Both Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen urged over the weekend against linking the attackers to the record influx of refugees into the bloc.

"I would like to make this urgent plea to avoid drawing such swift links to the situation surrounding refugees," de Maiziere said.

Von der Leyen, stated pointing out that "terrorism is so well organised that it does not need to take the difficult route taken by refugees, who risk their lives by crossing the high seas."

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere speaks with German Justice Minister Heiko Maas (R) before the weekly cabinet meeing in Berlin, Germany, November 11, 2015.

However, Poland's government announced on Monday that due to the recent attacks in Paris, it will no longer engage in EU's resettlement plan allowing thousands of refugees to seek asylum in Europe.

"The attacks mean the necessity of an even deeper revision of the European policy towards the migrant crisis", said Konrad Szymanski, Poland's soon-to-be European affairs minister, during a briefing on Saturday.

Poland’s Foreign Minister, Witold Waszczykowski, who took office on Monday, stated that the Syrian refugees coming into Europe can be trained to form an army which can then “liberate” the war-torn nation.

Adding that European soldiers should not be deployed to fight “terrorists” in Syria while the Syrians who have newly arrived will “sip coffee.”

Waszczykowski said that “hundreds of thousands of Syrians have come to Europe recently. We can help them form an army.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses Parliament in Budapest, Hungary, November 16, 2015.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban told lawmakers on Monday that the EU plan to relocate refugees among member countries is unlawful and will "spread terrorism around Europe."

Orban, who has been a prominent figure against refugees in Europe, said no one could be sure how many “terrorists” have entered Europe by blending in with the refugees, but "one terrorist is too many."

Orban also added that the bloc needs to "forget political correctness ... and return to common sense" by enacting policies to protect its borders, its culture and its economic interests.

US States refuse refugees

European countries have not only shown reluctance concerning the acceptance of refugees following the Paris attacks, but two US states have refused the inhabitance of refugees within their territories.

"After full consideration of this weekend's attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama," Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley, said in a statement on Monday.

"As your governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm's way," Bentley continued.

"The acts of terror committed over the weekend are a tragic reminder to the world that evil exists and takes the form of terrorists who seek to destroy the basic freedoms we will always fight to preserve," the governor added.  

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder also stated on Sunday that he has taken the decision to suspend the arrival of Syrian refugees under a program announced by US President Barack Obama.

"Given the terrible situation in Paris, I've directed that we put on hold our efforts to accept new refugees until the US Department of Homeland Security completes a full review of security clearances and procedures," Governor Snyder said in a statement.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum reacts after filing his declaration of candidacy to appear on the New Hampshire primary election ballot in Concord, New Hampshire November 12, 2015.

"It's also important to remember that these attacks are the efforts of extremists and do not reflect the peaceful ways of people of Middle Eastern descent here and around the world," he added in his statement.

The Detroit Free Press, the leading newspaper in Michigan, reported that between 1,800 and 2,000 refugees have resettled within the state over the past year, about 200 of whom were from Syria.

Another US governor, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who is also running for the Republican party's 2016 presidential nomination, sent a letter to President Obama on Saturday expressing "grave concern" about permitting Syrian refugees into the country, emphasising that it would be "prudent to pause the process."

"Authorities need to investigate what happened in Europe before this problem comes to the United States," Jindal wrote to Obama.

Jindal said, earlier this month, Syrian refugees began arriving to New Orleans, and said it is "irresponsible and severely disconcerting to place individuals, who may have ties to ISIS, in a state without the state's knowledge or involvement."

Obama had announced in September that the US will be admitting a total number of 10,000 Syrian refugees by September 2016.

Many other Republican presidential candidates have also insisted on Sunday that in the wake of the Paris blasts, that the US must not take in Syrian refugees because they might include DAESH terrorists.

However, a White House aide stated that the plan to take in Syrian refugees carries very little risk, due to the vetting process being "robust" and the overall number of refugees is relatively small.

"We cannot close our doors to these people," Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser told the Fox News Sunday program.

In addition, during the G20 summit in Antalya, US President Obama urged fellow G20 members to consider refugees not only as a humanitarian issue but "an economic opportunity worth seizing."

TRTWorld and agencies