Glasgow Welcomes First Syrian Refugees

The recent arrival of over a hundred Syrian refugees in Glasgow is part of the promise made by the UK government of taking in 1,000 people by Christmas. Most of the refugees aboard the Boeing 737 were families who came from camps close to the Syrian border.

The refugees are expected to be hosted by Glasgow, Edinburgh, North Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire. Ten of the families will be hosted by Inverclyde while fifteen families will go to Rothesay in the Isle of Bute. The locals of the seaside town are expected to make a temporary mosque using a church hall.

The refugees are allowed to stay for five years before they can apply for permanent settlement in the United Kingdom.

The arrival of the Syrian refugees in Glasgow was without any fanfare as the passengers disembarked from the plane away from the media. The refugees were welcomed in private area and were transported to designated council districts on coaches.

The Stirling council said its plans of taking in refugees were not affected by the terrorist attacks in Paris. The council said they have the responsibility of providing safety to refugees and they aim to keep this commitment. The government of Scotland assured the public that the new arrivals went through comprehensive screening processes before they were allowed to enter the United Kingdom. Many of the refugees were identified by agencies as residents of the camps for a good amount of time.

The minister for Europe and international development of the government of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, said the reception was coordinated by the task force that is working on ensuring the new arrivals can start their lives as soon as possible after arriving in Scotland.

Glasgow Welcomes First Syrian Refugees

Glasgow Welcomes First Syrian Refugees - image credit: bbc.co.uk

He said the names, ages and medical background of the Syrian refugees were already sent to the host councils. The refugees will be issued biometric identity passes to allow them to open bank accounts, access to national insurance numbers, apply for jobs and claim benefits, if needed. Some of the children already have pending requests to allow them to enter local schools.

Yousaf also assured the newly-arrived Syrian refugees that they will receive a warm welcome and they should consider Scotland as their home. Glasgow Central Mosque general secretary Nabeel Shaikh said the attacks in Paris has been associated by some Scots with the arrival of the refuges following a suspected arson attack on a mosque close to Glasgow. While the Bishopbriggs cultural centre sustained some fire damage, no one was injured.

The fire was considered suspicious by the authorities, who are looking into the possibility that it may be a hate crime. Five arrests linked to hate crimes were made since the attacks in Paris on Friday.

Shaikh said the Muslim community has been at the brunt of Islamophobic incidents since the Paris attacks and the arson attack on the Bishopbriggs cultural centre was just one of it. Anxiety within the community has increased due to the attacks. Women was told not go out alone since most of the attacks were aimed at women, the elderly and vulnerable individuals.

Shaikh added that it is important to show everyone that the Paris attacks had nothing to do with them and the Syrian refugees, who fled the same violence that happened in Paris. Forty percent of the refugees David Cameron promised to take in by the end of the year will be welcomed by Scotland. However, the total commitment of the government of Scotland is only ten percent of all the refugees the United Kingdom will accept over the next five years.

On Tuesday afternoon, politicians in Holyrood paid their respects to the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris. The session was attended by members of the French community of Scotland and a senior French consulate representative. A rally was scheduled to be held on Saturday in lieu of the welcome gathering of refugee rights supporters at the airport. Calls for additional donations were made by the Scottish Refugee Council to provide support for newly-arrived Syrian refugees.

Positive Action in Housing director Robina Qureshi she did not notice any change in the mood of the public towards the Syrian refugees following the attacks on Paris. Instead, she said there was outpouring support for the refugees in cities, island and rural areas. Qureshi added that attitudes towards refugees across England were better today compared to a number of decades ago.

Posted by on Wednesday November 18 2015, 12:44 AM EST. All trademarks acknowledged. Filed under Featured News, World. Comments and Trackbacks closed. Follow responses: RSS 2.0

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