Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Educating the Refugees in Europe is More Important Than Feeding Them | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55346691

Second-hand market to help refugees in Istanbul
EPA Photos

There are more than a million people who represent a free gift to extremist groups, residing in Europe and far away from the refugee camps they left behind. Extremist groups reached Europe before them and enjoy more freedom of expression and community activity. Some of the refuges who came in search of refuge and a new life have become a target for extremists who want to expand their presence and activities which include terrorist acts or at least the dissemination of extremist ideology which later makes refugees oppose the society in which they live. However, since people started fleeing the war in Syria and crossing Turkey into Europe in large unprecedented numbers, we approach a new phase of the crisis which will most likely remain for a long time even if the Syrian conflict is completely resolved. A million refugees, most of whom are Syrians, is not a large number in a continent inhabited by 300,000,000 people. Neither is their number a problem in the largest host country, Germany, which is able to accommodate them in its large economy. Their problem, however, is big- culturally, socially and with regards to security.

The real dangers threaten a million people who are victims of the heinous war which unjustly displaced more than ten million other Syrians and a few million Iraqis. The refugees in Europe are vulnerable to exploitation and being used as a ball in this game which is increasingly complex and dangerous. There are forces fighting them in Europe – from those who oppose refugees and protesters against unemployment to groups that are loyal to the Syrian and Iranian regimes, and of course the most dangerous of them all, extremists and collaborators with terrorist organisations such as ISIS and Al-Nusra Front.

It is in the interests of the German and European authorities to anticipate potential problems and not to leave the refugees prey to extremists who may develop from amongst them and also those who communicate with them claiming to offer humanitarian aid. We suggest that these groups are educated intellectually in order to live with dignity in the new society that is hosting them and that respects their beliefs and rights and expects the same from them towards other people.