Refugee Council expresses concern over newspapers scapegoating asylum seekers - Refugee Council
July 28, 2005

Refugee Council expresses concern over newspapers scapegoating asylum seekers

Taken from an extract from the Guardian: ‘Bomb suspect ‘became a militant’ in prison‘ by Alan Travis and Audrey Gillan

The Refugee Council last night expressed concern that some newspapers appeared to be scapegoating asylum seekers by attempting to draw a link with the suspected bombers, even though both suspects grew up in Britain.

The Daily Express’s front page headline yesterday announced: “Bombers are all spongeing asylum seekers.” An article inside urged its readers to take part in a text vote answering the question: “Should all asylum seekers now be turned back?” with a yes or no.

The Mail also published “Gratitude! Their families came here seeking asylum and were given homes, schooling and all the benefits of British life. How do they repay us? By trying to blow us up.”

However, neither suspected bombers were asylum seekers. When they arrived, aged 11 and 14, one was an unaccompanied minor from Somalia and the other was a child of refugees from Eritrea.

Maeve Sherlock, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: “So far the British public’s reaction to the bombings has been to pull together and not allow extreme elements to stoke up hostility towards minority communities.

“We want to see this spirit of togetherness preserved.

“At a time of great tension it is deeply irresponsible to scapegoat any group because of the actions of particular individuals.

“The suspects in this case came here as boys and grew up in Britain, so to suggest there is a link with asylum is wrong.”

Read the full story:
Guardian: Bomb suspect ‘became a militant’ in prison

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005