Paris attacks overshadow future of innocent refugees

Refugees who were once welcomed to Europe with open arms now feared as negative backlash hits after Paris attacks

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Syrian refugee boy sits on a beach after disembarking from a yacht used by other Syrian refugees travel across the Aegean Sea to reach the Greek island of Lesbos November 21, 2015.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees, forced to flee war-torn and poverty-stricken countries and aimed to reach Europe for a better life however, a shift of blame on refugees after Paris attacks slowly began to diminished their hopes for a safer new beginning. 

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

Refugees have been blamed for having links with the attacks which has been claimed by the DAESH terrorist group in the French capital, Paris.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas warned against concluding a hasty assumption that there is 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.

Similarly, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres asserted that it was "absolute nonsense" to hold refugees responsible for terror attacks, as they were its "first victims."

"It is not the refugee outflows that cause terrorism, it is terrorism, tyranny and war that create refugees," he emphasized.

Refugees are now concerned over being excluded from the general public and having their asylum applications turned down. 

Syrian refugee Ali Ferah who sought refuge in Austria with her two daughters said they were greeted with a warm welcome and support when they first arrived but since the Paris attacks, she has seen a change in attitude towards them.

“Bombs are raining over the people of Syria. We escaped from war. We have not carried out the Paris attacks but we have not received proper food for three days," stressed Ferah.

Meanwhile, only Iraqi, Syrian and Afghan refugees are being allowed to pass through the borders in Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia. Others are reported to have been held on the border.  

Afghan refugee Said Abdul noted that they "have been held at the border for two days now. We are stuck here. This situation emerged after the attacks. I am a refugee. All I know about the other refugees is that they are good people and not terrorists."

Till now, it has not been confirmed that any of the Paris attackers had entered Europe as a refugee. In fact, it is reported that most of them were European citizens.

Although at least two attackers appear to have entered Europe through Greece, its has not been clarified if they came in through a refugee program. 

Even if a direct tie between refugees and terrorists are not confirmed, anti-immigrant politicians continue to exploit the issue as a focal point for their rhetoric. 

Several politicians across the globe have refuted opening their doors to Syrian refugees after attacks in Paris which killed at least 129 people.

On November 20, the US House of Representatives passed a Republican-backed legislation to curb the flow of refugees into the US, and enforce a tougher refugee screening process.

TRTWorld and agencies