Saudi Arabia has finally decided to contribute to help syrian refugees!Watch
Saudi Arabia offered to build 200 mosques for Muslim refugees in Germany. Above, three women talk inside the mosque during the opening of an info center for the prevention of Islamic extremism at Sehitlik mosque in Berlin, Germany Aug. 18, 2015. Reuters/Stefanie Loos
Saudi Arabia has reportedly responded to the growing number of people fleeing the Middle East for western Europe – by offering to build 200 mosques in Germany.
Syria’s richer Gulf neighbours have been accused of not doing their fair share in the humanitarian crisis, with Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the UAE also keeping their doors firmly shut to asylum-seekers.
According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which quoted a report in the Lebanese newspaper Al Diyar, Saudi Arabia would build one mosque for every 100 refugees who entered Germany in extraordinary numbers last weekend.
It would be unfair to suggest that the Gulf Arab states have done nothing to help the estimated four million Syrians who have fled their country since the start of the conflict in 2011.
Just this week, the al Hayat newspaper reported that 500,000 Syrians had found homes in Saudi Arabia since the civil war began – as workers, not refugees.
There have also been significant contributions from rich individuals towards the upkeep of refugee camps round the Syrian border, estimated by the BBC to total around $900 million (£600 million).
But amid a history of competition between the Gulf states and Iranian-allied nations, there is a deep fear that allowing an influx of Syrian refugees could also let in Syrians loyal to Bashar al-Assad.
There also exists a more general concern about demographic change, leaving the states opposed to the idea of welcoming refugees. In the UAE, foreign nationals already outnumber citizens by more than five to one.
Back in Germany, Angela Merkel welcomed two refugee families at a home for asylum-seekers in the Berlin suburb of Spandau on Thursday.
She told reporters after the visit: “Their integration will certainly take place in part via the children, who will learn German very quickly in kindergarten. And I hope and believe that the great majority will want to learn our language very quickly.”
Whether she will welcome Saudi Arabia’s reported offer, which Al Diyar noted would “have to go through the federal authorities”, remains to be seen.
Proposals for building mosques have an uneasy history in Germany. In July, when an Islamic center decided to convert a church in northern Germany into a mosque to accommodate its expanding following, locals protested. The Christian Democratic Union party requested the church not be changed, while one pastor recommended razing the building, the New York Times reported.
In 2012, a mega mosque built by Turkey in Cologne sparked pushback as well. Islamic Turkish Associations were there "to challenge the sovereignty of Christianity in Cologne," Michael Höhne-Pattberg, identified as an anti-jihad activist, told CBN news at the time. Other locals in towns where Muslims populations were growing similarly criticized what they called the "Islamization" of their town.
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Haha oh that is so helpful I heard something about their reason for not letting in refugees being that in the gulf states citizens are actually a minority, with most residents being transient migrant workers. Allowing thousands of refugees in would play hell with their political system. Still selfish of them.
So they actually think those people are inferior and it is Europe who has to take in the trash. Wonderful.
They could have taken in refugees or they could have given the money they are setting aside to build these mosques to German NGOs but no! They offered to build mosques that would clearly be surplus to requirement. At best all this architecture is pure blatant power projection, at worst the mosques would be fountainheads for Saudi Arabia's toxic brand of political Islam. After what Saudi funded seminaries have done in my home country, Pakistan, I shudder to think what the result would be!
No, germany is already providing housing. They won't be making them live 100 people to a mosque.
It depends on the size of the mosque, and I'm sure it will be quite big.