Belgrade, October 24, 2023– The Hamas attack on Israel that took place on October 7 raised the question and fear of possible terrorist attacks, which, according to Danas’ interlocutors, are closely related to the issue of migration from the Middle East region, primarily Palestine, to Europe.
Since the beginning of the conflict between Hamas and Israel, certain number of countries have increased internal and external security measures.
Slovenia, for example, increased security at border crossings with Croatia and Hungary, while Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina raised internal measures to a higher level, as a precaution to prevent possible terrorist acts.
Recently, former Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša called on Slovenians to get the arms.
More restrictive measures lead to radicalization
Radoš Đurović from the Asylum Protection Center tells Danas that linking migration and terrorism is aimed at raising fear among the population of Europe.
As he points out, the European countries now associate migration with terrorism.
“I would say they are trying to exploit this problem that is happening in the Middle East for the purposes of the fight against migration that is going to Europe. In this sense, they are trying to mobilize the public in support of their activities, which are aimed at physically restricting the movement of people, building barriers, in the context of fear of possible terrorist attacks,” explains Đurović.
He explains that the construction of barriers and the introduction of border controls between Croatia and Slovenia are only aesthetic measures “that someone introduces for internal political or some other reasons”.
He adds that migration cannot be stopped or controlled with these measures.
“Putting the border crossing again on some highway or road does not stop migration. Migration does not take place over the highway and across border crossings,” Đurović explains.
As he points out, all these measures exist so that terrorism can be linked to migration.
“More or less, there is a consensus among all EU members. So they chose to stop and slow down migration as a response to these challenges, and did not focus on supporting the countries where the refugees come from to build better societies,” says our interlocutor.
He notes that more restrictive measures and the radicalization of society, as well as feeding citizens’ fears, can only lead to more extreme movements and situations in local areas across Europe.
“The crisis in Europe is not the existing integration system, but the problem of their implementation. Political elites cut off the branches on which that system rests, and the counter-effect is further problems in local areas and radicalization. They forget that migration in Europe cannot be stopped and that it is a necessity,” says Đurović.
In such policies, continues Danas’s interlocutor, the conflict cannot be stopped, on the one hand, the supporters of the anti-migrant policy and, on the other hand, the naturality of migration and migrants.
“Antagonism is born, prejudices are born, environments are separated. Misunderstanding later only leads to extremism on both of the sides,” he says.
Europe is Christian and rigid, it does not like to talk about that
Our interlocutor notes it is easy to raise fears in Europe.
“Europe is traditional, Christian, continental, rigid, imperial… These are all deposits of some collective memory and identity among the citizens of those European countries. For them, it is unacceptable that in a short period of time someone is equal with them if he is a refugee, if he came as a beggar, someone of a different religion,” says Đurović.
It is rarely talked about, he continues. Europe does not like to talk about its prejudices.
“And there is one problem. Immigration societies have to adapt to new circumstances and even to those they receive. They have to understand their mentality, their needs. To build society together. In Europe, these people are looked down on. These are the people for whom the worst occupations are left, the stigma. They and their descendants will never be able to be equal as others. These are big challenges for European societies,” says our interlocutor.
Unlike European countries, Đurović says that our region has an advantage.
“It’s the mentality and our refugee experience because of the wars we have lived through. We know about the people we see why they are fleeing. Our citizen knows that these people escaped because they have no alternative. The mentality is also very similar to people from Afghanistan, Turkey, the Middle East and the Balkans,” he says.