Syrian refugees in Iceland


This video says about itself:

In Iceland, refugee population helps yield diversity, economic growth

24 August 2016

As refugees from war flee across continental Europe, a few have found safety in an unlikely place: Iceland. New legislation there relaxes immigration controls, worrying some residents — but more citizens favor diversifying their mostly white and Christian nation. In fact, the country’s economy may rely on population growth. Malcolm Brabant recounts the Icelandic experience of one Syrian family.

From daily News Line in Britain:

With 330,000 inhabitants surrounded by volcanoes, glaciers and geysers, Iceland is an unusual destination for refugees fleeing war in Syria. But since 2015, 118 Syrians have found hope for a new and tranquil life in the Nordic nation. Many of them lived in Lebanon for several years before coming to the land of ice and fire, sent by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Most of them have settled in the capital Reykjavik and its surroundings, while others are beginning their new lives in Akureyri in the north of the country, 70 kilometres (45 miles) south of the Arctic Circle. A refugee family said of Iceland and the weather there, ‘We’re able to adapt to any conditions here, whether they’re easy or difficult, we can live with them,’ he says. ‘It’s only the language that is a bit complicated. We need time to become fully adapted,’ he adds.

Mustafa Akra a Syrian refugee who lives in Iceland with his wife Basma said: ‘They, the Icelanders, welcomed us in a very nice way,’ says 30-year-old Mustafa Akra, thin glasses perched on his nose and a cap on his head. Mustafa says some people he has met in Iceland are ‘racist’, but fewer than in other countries.

Support for the anti-immigration Icelandic National Front, founded in early 2016 when the first Syrian refugees began arriving, remains minimal. The party garnered only 0.2 percent of votes in October’s snap election. And according to a survey carried out for Amnesty International in September, more than 85 percent of Icelanders want to take in more refugees.

‘People are shy to advertise their opposition against refugees. It’s not a popular view here,’ says Linda Blondal, the Syrian couple’s neighbour who is helping them integrate into Icelandic society. The couple knew little or nothing about their new home before coming.

‘We had never heard of Iceland before arriving here. We barely knew where it was!’ explains Basma, who wears a hijab. Mustafa, a strapping man willing to work hard, ended up finding a job. But it wasn’t easy – he speaks neither Icelandic nor English.

In Syria he worked as a taxi driver, a car mechanic, a cook, a house painter and an electrician. He now works for Ali Baba, a Middle Eastern restaurant in the centre of Reykjavik.

The family is set to grow, as Basma is expected to give birth to their first child, a boy, in the coming weeks. ‘I’m proud that he will be born in Iceland, as safe as possible in a beautiful country,’ the 28-year-old mum-to-be says. Iceland registered 791 asylum applications last year, mostly from Balkan countries.

Only 100 have been granted refugee status, including 25 Iraqis, 17 Syrians and 14 Iranians. A year ago, then-prime minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson welcomed the first six Syrian refugee families at Reykjavik airport. And on Monday, President Gudni Johannesson received another five refugees at his official residence.

Icelandic National Front Neo-Nazis Reportedly Threaten Icelandic Muslim: here.

Swedish Neo-Nazis Come To Iceland, Seeking Recruits: here.

A Nazi’s Disappointment With Iceland (1930s): here.

3 thoughts on “Syrian refugees in Iceland

  1. Pingback: Malaysians demonstrate against Trump’s xenophobia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Trump using armed forces against judges? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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