Two German papers welcome migrants in Arabic

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Two German newspapers have published a special supplement in Arabic, welcoming refugees and giving them advice on where to go for services.

The top-selling Bild newspaper and Berlin’s BZ, both produced by the same publisher, put out the four-page insert in Wednesday’s editions, headlined “Welcome to Berlin; You have finally reached Berlin, what do you need to do now?”

A map of the capital, labeled in Arabic, points out refugee housing centers, health care clinics, playgrounds, language schools offering free courses and other places of importance.

It also includes a short list of Arabic-German phrases, and details on the regulations for asylum seekers.

Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller’s message greeting the refugees, also in Arabic, says they will find that “the German capital is an open, tolerant and international metropolis.”


Greek authorities say they have completed screening more than 17,000 refugees and migrants stranded in miserable conditions on the island of Lesbos, and most have boarded ferries for the mainland.

A football stadium has been enlisted as a screening center, and police sent more staff and fingerprinting equipment to accelerate the process. Nearly half the migrants reaching Greece in small boats from Turkey arrive on Lesbos, and sleep rough there until they can be registered.

Police said Wednesday the screening center will continue to handle some 3,000-4,000 people who arrive every day.

About 10,000 people left Lesbos this week in ferries for the mainland.


Europe’s top human rights organization is calling on governments to treat migrants and asylum-seekers with the same respect and dignity as Europeans receive.

In a letter Wednesday to all 47 member states, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said it was “self-defeating to mistreat or demean any future members of our societies.”

He notes that collective expulsions are banned, there must be no discrimination on basis of religion or race, and there should be equal access to food, shelter and health care.

Europe has struggled, in part, because front-line nations such as Hungary and Greece have not put enough facilities in place to house a human flow averaging 2,000 to 3,000 a day while the vast majority of people try to push deeper into Europe and seek refuge in Germany.


Norway’s migration agency has turned down an offer from an Oslo mosque to provide shelter for migrants and refugees, saying such housing needs to be religion-neutral.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration is scrambling to find housing for a growing stream of asylum-seekers coming to the wealthy Nordic country.

But agency spokesman John Olav Kroken says the offer from the Islamic Cultural Center, Norway’s first mosque, was turned down because housing migrants in a place of worship would be against the rules.

“It cannot be a mosque or a church,” he said. “I think they were disappointed because they wanted to help.”

The Islamic Cultural Center said it respected the agency’s decision and that it would make its premises and staff available to help should the need arise in the future.

Norway received more than 2,300 asylum-seekers in August, the highest monthly number since the Balkan wars in the 1990s.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel says integrating successful asylum applicants into German society will be a priority and authorities must learn from the past.

Merkel told lawmakers Thursday that a country welcoming many people from other cultures “also must make clear what rules apply here.”

Merkel said the government must learn from the experiences of the 1960s, when West Germany allowed in “guest workers” from Turkey and other nations but paid scant attention to integrating them. She says key steps include ensuring that new arrivals learn German and trying to get them into jobs.

She added: “We must not look away if environments solidify in which integration is rejected or if parallel societies develop — there can be no tolerance there.”


A group of refugees has arrived in France after an overnight bus trip from Germany, the first among around 1,000 that French President Francois Hollande pledged to receive from the neighboring country.

Hollande committed to accepting 24,000 refugees over two years — approximately the amount that Germany took in over just the past weekend.

French television in Champagne-sur-Seine showed the migrants, including families with young children, leaving a bus and entering a Red Cross tent for coffee. French public opinion is split on how to handle the influx of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.




The head of the European Union’s executive says 22 of the member states should be forced to accept another 120,000 people in need of international protection who have come toward the continent at high risk through Greece, Italy and Hungary.

With the new call to the European Parliament, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday that his additional plan would bring the total for emergency relocation to 160,000.

Recalling the lengthy haggling among member states over the spread of the initial 40,000, Juncker said that this time “this has to be done in a compulsory way.”

Juncker said he wants his plan endorsed by the member states at a special meeting in Brussels on Monday.

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