Denying entry to Muslim refugees promotes terrorism: UN refugee chief

Karachi: United Nations refugee chief Antonio Guterres has slammed nations for rejecting Syrian refugees because they are Muslims and said that this behaviour was fuelling terrorism.

The Dawn quoted Guterres condemning the blocking of the refugees and said that it aided terrorist organisations in being more effective in recruiting people. “When people say they cannot receive Syrian refugees because they are Muslims, those that say it are supporting terrorist organisations and allowing them to be much more effective in recruitment of people,” he told a news conference.

Investigation and intelligence reveal that at least one of the men who carried out the serial attacks in Paris in November had entered Europe posing as a Syrian refugee. Following the Paris carnage, the US states of Texas, Arkansas, Alabama and Michigan said they would bar entry to Syrian refugees, and the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to suspend President Barack Obama’s programme to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees and intensify the process of screening them.

Guterres said he understood the governments’ need to rely on counter-terrorism strategies, but it would be an “illusion” to think that counter-terrorism and military action alone would solve the problem. “An essential part of this is to convince the potential recruits of terrorist organisations that that is not the way to express their own anger or their own concerns or their own perspectives,” said Guterres.

Asserting that closing borders was not the solution to the attacks in Europe, he added that by denying the refugees entry, it would give more chances to terrorist organisations to recruit within the borders of European countries. “The more it is said or the more it is done in hostility to Syrian refugees because they are Muslims, the more the chances for (Islamic State) and other groups to recruit within the borders of European countries people to do the kind of nasty things we are now witnessing,” he said.