Syrian Muslim refugees settled on the beautiful remote Scottish island of Bute complain they are now depressed because the area is ‘full of old people’ who come there to die.
UK Daily Mail (h/t Maria J) It was designed to offer Syrian refugees a new life in Scotland, away from the horrors of their war-ravaged homeland. But some of the first to be given sanctuary in Rothesay eight months ago have spoken of their unhappiness on Bute, saying it is ‘full of old people’ and a place ‘where people come to die’.
Struggling to learn English, the fathers of the families – who both used to run businesses – said that most days they stay indoors or take walks on the seafront, feeling isolated.
Names have been changed because of fears about family members still in Syria, but Abd, 42, who lives with his wife Rasha, 35, and their four children, said: ‘At first, of course, I was really happy to come to the UK. It is the mother of freedom. ‘People treated me really well, really nice.
But ‘there is no movement, there is nothing. I’m not bored any more. I am depressed now. I feel like I have one option now – to die here. Only die here, nothing else.’
The refugees have been given five years’ Humanitarian Protection status, permission to work and access to public funds. Twelve months of costs, excluding economic integration, are met by the UK’s overseas aid budget.
Abd said: ‘I didn’t expect to come to this island. We thought we were going to London or Manchester. But whenever we say anything about moving off the island, we are told “We had to pay a lot of money to bring you here”. ‘I feel like it’s an obligatory residence. I feel humiliated. I didn’t come here for anyone to control me.’
The Syrian said he felt ‘humiliated’ by council staff and recently downed a whole bottle of whisky as part of a failed suicide attempt that put him in hospital.
UK Daily Mail New Prime Minister Theresa May tried to reassure locals by saying all arrivals would be screened to ensure they did not pose a security threat, amid fears that some would-be terrorists who have travelled to Britain posing as refugees. Indeed, in September, a Lebanese minister, Elias Bou Saab, told Mr Cameron that two people out of every 100 in his country’s refugee camps were IS radicals planning to infiltrate Europe.
Mark Lingard, a 44-year-old former soldier and businessman, is wary of what he describes as this ‘social experiment’. He explains: ‘The council claims the migrants will find work here — but there aren’t enough jobs for locals. I fear we are storing up future problems if we have a group of men roaming about with nothing to do all day.
What’s more, these Syrian invaders are enjoying benefits that the native population doesn’t get:
A local supermarket has promised to sell halal meat from animals barbarically slaughtered according to rules set out in the Koran.
A charity musical evening has raised funds to buy new mobile phones for the migrants… Some disgruntled locals have been quick to point out that they have to make do with older models.
Meanwhile, eyebrows are being raised over the fact that Roman Catholic St Andrew’s church hall, in Rothesay town centre, is being used as a day centre… Here, children park their sparkling new bikes, play with donated toys.
The Syrians have been given free homes with new kitchens, carpets and washing machines.
…nothing is too much trouble. A specially appointed imam is to be ferried from Glasgow each week to lead Friday prayers.
Why are the locals upset at the Muslim invasion of their island?
- ‘Our children cannot be taught Spanish, Chinese, or Russian at school because they do not have enough trained teachers. Yet these newcomers will get English lessons and will have translators in their classrooms.’ And it is not only the poorly off with such concerns. A B&B owner told me: ‘Plenty of islanders, whatever their income, feel angry about what the refugees are being given. How will the Syrian men learn to handle money if everything is offered free to them on a plate? We worry they will hang round with nothing to do. We’ve no crime here, but people will begin to lock our doors at night.’
- One mother claimed, that while walking her children home from school the day after the migrants arrived (by ferry and greeted by a police escort at the harbour), she was rudely abused by a Syrian teenager as he passed in a car.
- A Rothesay shopkeeper explained: ‘The teenager made a gesture at her with his hand and mouth, a sign for oral sex. When she returned him a disapproving look, he did it again. She rang the migrant liaision officers to complain, but was told there was no one she could speak to about the matter.’ There have been other reports about a clash of cultures with respect to clothing.
- A local woman in her 20s was wearing a sleeveless T-shirt and claims a Syrian woman stopped her in Rothesay town centre and ‘shouted’ at her to cover up her shoulders.
- As I went round the town asking where I could find Syrian refugee families, a grey-haired lady popped her head out of her window and said: ‘The council never told us they were coming to live among us until the very last minute. It was sprung on us without us being asked for our views.’
- A Syrian couple were due to be housed in the flat above her. ‘I was told the wife gave birth on the way to Scotland and it was thought the stairs would be too much for her,’ she said. ‘She was put in a decent house down the road instead.’