Statement in response to Home Secretary’s comments about refugees

17 November 2021

Responding to Home Secretary Priti Patel’s comments on the UK’s asylum system following the terrorist incident in Liverpool on Sunday, where she stated that Emad Al Swealmeen was able to exploit the country’s ‘broken’ asylum system, describing it as a ‘merry-go-round’ with a ‘whole industry’ supporting people who are intent on causing harm, Robina Qureshi, Director of Positive Action in Housing, a refugee and migrant homelessness and human rights charity said:

“It’s disappointing but unsurprising to hear the Home Secretary, without proper investigation or due process, using the actions of one individual to demonise and cast a slur on all refugees and anyone perceived to be Muslim. She is effectively labelling every refugee man, woman, and child as a terrorist and the lawyers and charities that support them as accessories. You can’t blame the actions of one individual on a whole community.

“The facts are that the vast majority of people crossing the English Channel are refugees fleeing persecution. They include Afghan refugees who the Home Secretary promised a “warm welcome” to. The Home Office is indeed dysfunctional, with fewer claims but taking longer to make decisions, more staff but more delays, more dog whistle attacks and less humanity, and Priti Patel as Home Secretary is responsible for fixing it, yet all we see is her dehumanising people who are in no position to speak for themselves.

“Instead of raising the temperature and sounding her usual dog whistle to the far right and demonising law-abiding members of our communities, she ought to do the right thing and make the asylum process fit for purpose or resign. Her comments are extremely harmful to the Muslim community in Liverpool and across the UK who now are more likely to be the subject of attacks. Her comments have an impact on us all and she should reflect on the dangerous consequences of her words.”

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