Britons are increasingly heartless when it comes to taking in refugees

Josh Barrie (edited@ev_bartlett
Monday 15 June 2015 10:10
A small boy trapped near Akcakale on the Turkish-Syrian border after fleeing from Isis militants

Despite there being more than four million refugees fleeing war and terror in Syria, almost half of British people think they should be turned away from our borders.

In what the charity Islamic Relief said was a “dramatic hardening of views” against people displaced by war, a poll by YouGov showed that 42 per cent of Britons do not think foreign nationals seeking safety from conflict or persecution should be welcomed to the UK.

When it comes to Syria, attitudes are even more unwelcoming, with 47 per cent of the 6,000 people polled saying the UK should not provide refuge and the figure for those who say they should be welcomed dropping to 29 per cent.

Islamic Relief believes part of the problem could be linked to an increasingly negative view of Muslim people.

The results of this poll are extremely worrying because they show that public attitudes towards Muslims are hugely negative and attitudes towards refugees have hardened significantly. It’s time we celebrated the role British Muslims play rather than demonising the Muslim community.

  • Jehangir Malik, Islamic Relief’s UK director

Despite calls from the international community and a coalition of charities for more help for those seeking safety from the conflict, 95 per cent of the four million refugees from Syria are sheltering in just five countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

The UK has offered shelter to just 187 Syrians since the start of the war.

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