Europe is experiencing an influx of migrants and refugees that is on par with 2015 and 2016.
EU politicians have been called to an emergency meeting in Brussels. Does the European Union have control over its borders? Can the EU solve the refugee crisis? Should solving the refugee and migrant policies be up to the individual country to deal with?
“Could you please tell your newspaper’s readers what I think about asylum camps?” Mohammed asked as my Uber ride with him was coming to an end.
I was on my way to the airport and, as always when I’m around strangers, I struck up a conversation. Mohammed was originally from Sudan. In Africa, he stayed in four different camps, including one in Burkina Faso, before he was granted asylum in the United States.
“I have family and friends in Europe. I’ve been to Holland, I’ve been to Norway, and I’ve also been to Denmark,” he said. “How did you experience the situation with immigrants and refugees in the countries you visited?” I asked.
“Europe has been naive and brought the wrong people into their countries.” It is not the first time I hear immigrants, refugees, and people in search of a better life in a new country express themselves like this.
“The Europeans are no longer as happy about people coming to their countries, especially not the welfare states to the north.”
“Why do you think that is so?” I asked.
“Your country should make camps in the Middle East and Africa and select those they want, instead of the chaos that is going on now, where young men and extreme Islamists have full access.” The words came as if he was stating the obvious.
“If I say something like that in Denmark, Mohammed, I’m called racist and considered inhuman.” Mohammed looked at me confused. Then he burst out laughing. “You are not a racist”, he laughed, shaking his head.
“The European asylum policy does not work now, nor will it in the future, if the model is not changed.
“It’s about seeing people as equals. Of course, you should receive help if you need it. But the system must be fair.” It felt liberating to be able to speak freely, not least because Mohammed had actually experienced an asylum program, many Danes see as inhumane, racists, and against human rights.
“Views like that ends up in racism in the population! When the wrong people enter a country and ruin it for the rest because they behave badly or don´t work, when they live off other people´s taxes, then the European populations eventually turn against us.” Mohammed’s deep voice rose, even though I was sitting a few inches from him. “Of course, you have to be thoroughly vetted before you can be sent to a country that has been designated for you. Partly it ensures that those who need asylum get it, and you make sure it´s the right ones, you let in.”
The European asylum policy does not work now, nor will it in the future, if the model is not changed. Approximately 70% of asylum seekers in Europe who have their case dismissed do not leave Europe. Denmark takes in more asylum seekers and refugees than the average in European countries.
In the future, there will be more climate refugees on top of war refugees, and people in search of better economic conditions. Furthermore, population growth in Africa is of such an explosive nature that in a few years one in three of the world’s population will be African. It makes perfect sense that Denmark is considering sending people who come to the country illegally to a safe third country while their case is processed.
The tone was light, a sense of intimate familiarity had developed between us in the time it took to drive from my home to Sea-Tac. When we parted, Mohammed asked if he could give me a hug.
“I didn’t think you could look me in the eyes, shake hands, and give a hug to a woman as a Muslim,” I cheekily said. “That is another thing that many Muslims in Denmark insist on, must be respected.”
Mohammed spread his arms: “Those who are like that have completely misunderstood Islam,” he stated.
We hugged and I thanked him the conversation and the drive, all the while thinking that someone should listen to Mohammed and other reasonable people like him so that Europe can thrive with its new inhabitants now and in the future.
Måske burde Mohammed have noget at skulle have sagt, når Danmark og Europa diskuterer asylpolitik?
Europa oplever en tilstrømning af migranter og flygtninge, der er på niveau med 2015 og 2016.