Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Islamic invasion of Europe update (November 3, 2015)

Iraqi Christians in Germany Harassed by Islamists
The following is a first-hand account of a Christian refugee from Iraqi Kurdistan who is being housed in a church (along with other Christians) away from Islamist refugees because of harassment and threats. He relates how the Islamists refugees sang songs of jihad while their unknowing German hosts applauded.

Slovenia PM says migrant crisis could reignite Balkan conflicts
The migrant crisis engulfing Europe threatens to reignite conflicts between former Yugoslav republics which fought each other during the 1990s, Slovenia's prime minister said on Tuesday.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants, many of them fleeing Syria's civil war, have taken the Balkan route from Greece to western Europe this year, putting great strain on the finances and infrastructure of transit countries, including the ex-Yugoslav states of Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.

The situation worsened when Hungary, an eastern outpost of the European Union's passport-free Schengen zone, shut its southern border to the migrants on Oct. 16, diverting the flow of around 135,000 people westwards from Croatia into Slovenia.

Countries have angrily accused each other of failing to register the refugees properly or to share information.

"If the migrant crisis is not adequately controlled as agreed at the summit in Brussels there is a possibility of conflict situations between the states of the Western Balkans," Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar told a news conference.

"It is possible that a small conflict would initiate a wider reaction because of the very difficult recent history (of the region), which is why it is very important that we solve this crisis together as no country can solve this problem by itself."
Slovenia mulls building a border fence on the border with Croatia
Slovenia's prime minister says his country will strengthen controls of its border with Croatia, possibly by erecting a fence, if migrants continue to stream into the Alpine nation in large numbers.

Miro Cerar said Tuesday Slovenia would not close down its borders, but would use "technical obstacles" to control the influx. He said this could include a border fence "if necessary."

Slovenia has repeatedly complained it is too small to handle thousands of refugees coming its way. Cerar said the country of 2 million does not have winter capacities for migrants.

He also said that if Germany and Austria limit the acceptance of migrants, Slovenia would have to act because it would face "an uncontrollable number of migrants."

Migrants turned to Slovenia last month after Hungary closed its border with Croatia.

Austrian government moves to tighten asylum rules
Austria's government, facing a record influx of refugees and migrants as well as a surge in support for the anti-immigration far-right, plans to tighten its asylum rules.

According to the contentious draft legislation, those granted asylum will be reassessed after three years. If their countries of origin are then deemed to have become safe, they will be sent back.

Those under "subsidiary protection" -- a kind of asylum-lite awarded in particular to Afghans -- will meanwhile only be allowed to be joined by family members after three years, up from one year now.

Chancellor Werner Faymann said that the legislation, due to go before parliament in December, is a "signal that asylum is something which is temporary", and aimed at deterring people from coming to Austria.

Serbia and Croatia have launched a direct train transfer of migrants from one country to another so asylum seekers no longer have to wait long hours outside in the cold.

Officials say that the first train carrying about 1,000 migrants left Tuesday morning from the Serbian town of Sid toward Slavonski Brod, Croatia, where authorities have set up a winter camp.

The direct train link was agreed last month after thousands of people, most of whom were families with small children, were forced to spent entire nights at a muddy border passage waiting to cross from Serbia to Croatia.

Croatian police say more than 300,000 people have passed through the country since mid-September. Most migrants want to reach wealthy nations of Western Europe, such as Germany or Sweden.

British army base on Cyprus
An official says recently-arrived migrants housed at a British army base on Cyprus had set fire to two tents, but that the blaze was put out quickly.

British Bases spokeswoman Connie Pierce said Tuesday the situation is now calm following Monday's incident. She gave no reason for the fire.

Pierce said there had been "a series of incidents" at the facility, but that authorities won't "be going into specific detail."

She said the 114 people, who arrived by boat at a British air base on Cyprus last month, have food, shelter, privacy and communications and that U.N. staff say the facility "exceeds the standard of comparable setups."

Pierce repeated that the British government won't allow a new migrant route to open up to the U.K. through its two Cyprus bases.

Merkel renew calls for "fair redistribution" of Muslim migrants around Europe
Chancellor Angela Merkel says that Europe's refugee crisis won't be solved at the German-Austrian border and is warning other countries that they shouldn't assume they won't be affected.

Merkel renewed her call on Tuesday for a fair distribution of refugees around Europe. Germany has taken by far the most refugees so far, with Sweden and Austria also receiving many, but several other European Union countries have been reluctant to make any significant contribution.

Merkel, who faces pressure at home to reduce the influx, said: "I am firmly convinced that we will not manage this challenge at the German-Austrian border." She added: "Those in Europe who think today that they are not affected by this will be affected in some way tomorrow, if only through the unity of Europe being questioned."

The secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says the sheer scale of the refugee influx to Europe has overwhelmed authorities, and acknowledged more must be done.

During a visit on Tuesday to Greece, the country that has borne the brunt of new arrivals, Elhadj As Sy said the refugee numbers hadn't been predicted. IFRC figures Tuesday show 600,000 people reached Greece so far this year.

Hungary's parliament has approved a resolution that rejects the European Union's plan to introduce a quota system to share refugees among member nations.

The approval Tuesday by lawmakers from Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party, its Christian Democrat coalition partners and the far-right Jobbik party paves the way for the government to launch legal action against the EU to avoid having to take part in the scheme.

Finland's interior minister says increasing tensions between ethnic Finns and asylum-seekers is the biggest security threat facing the Nordic country.

Petteri Orpo warned Tuesday of a "growing risk" of violent attacks against asylum-seekers and among asylum-seekers, saying some have been refused refuge because of their participation in terror-linked organizations.

Security police chief Antti Pelttari says the threat of a terror attack is still "low" in the country of 5.5 million but that the agency has a watch-list of 300 people with suspected sympathies toward extreme Islamist ideology.

There have been several anti-immigrant protests in Finland and police have reported a few minor attacks or threats against asylum centers. No one has been hurt.

Immigration officials estimate that some 35,000 migrants will have arrived in the country by year-end — a tenfold increase on 2014.

Europol says 29 suspects have been arrested during raids in Spain and Poland that targeted a Pakistani crime gang accused of smuggling Pakistanis into Europe and putting them to work under slave-like conditions in kebab restaurants.

The European Union police agency announced Tuesday that 365 Spanish and Polish police officers launched raids Oct. 24 and 25 at dozens of restaurants and homes, making arrests and seizing evidence, including equipment to forge travel documents.

An anti-smuggling team at Europol's headquarters in The Hague helped coordinate the operation.

Europol says migrants paid the gang around 14,000 euros ($15,300) for the trip to Europe, often crossing the Mediterranean in unseaworthy boats from Turkey to Greece or Libya to Italy.

It was not immediately clear how many migrants the gang smuggled in.