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CMI expert: Bring more families to Finland - single men should stay at home and fight ISIS

Helsingin Sanomat
CMI Expert: Single men should stay at home and fight ISIS
CMI Expert: Single men should stay at home and fight ISIS
How should ‪Finland solve the migrant crisis? Is peace in Syria & Iraq the key? Iraq expert Hussein Al-Taee tells HSTV Newsmakers the answer is to bring more women and children to Finland, while single men should stay in their home countries.

An expert at President Ahtisaari's Crisis Management Initiative says that it is Europe's "failure" to not proactively visit refugee camps and bring the most needy women and children to safety.

Speaking on HSTV's English-language current affairs show Newsmakers, Hussein Al-Taee said "we basically failed the refugee camps. We would rather have a system where we are able to go and identify those who are in a crucial need of safety in Europe".

Al-Taee cited the harsh winter conditions for many people still living in camps in the Middle East as a pressing concern for aid agencies. He said that young men "should stay in their countries... most of them should, and rebuild their countries and defend their countries against ISIS and other threats".

There has been growing discontent in Finland about the perceived numbers of men arriving in the country from Iraq and Syria, among some 30,000 migrants expected during 2015. Recently, several allegations of rape and sexual assault have been made against men in reception centres for asylum seekers, which has sparked public and political outcry. Al-Taee pointed out that anyone accused of such a crime is very much in the minority. "Nothing explains rape. Islam does not explain rape. Any Arab culture does not explain rape" h stated.

The Crisis Management Initiative has been actively working in Iraq, in particular, over the last 18 months according to Al-Taee, noting that "a lot of the conflicts that happen in the Middle East are connected on a regional level and on an international level".

CMI, which is an independent non-governmental organisation, was founded by former Finnish President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Martti Ahtisaari in 2000. The organisation believes that the best solution to the current migrant crisis is to 'resolve and prevent conflicts' in the region, according to their website.

"A lot of the people who are pushing for [Syrian President] Assad to leave thought they would be able to throw him out in six weeks or seven weeks. A lot of lobbying was done based on that assumption" said Al-Taee. "But Assad proved he was able to stay, he has some very very strong partners, even in the [United Nations] Security Council".

Al-Taee says that most of all, refugees are looking for hope, and it was the same for his own family when they came to Finland under a refugee quota scheme when Al-Taee was just six years old. The family spent several years living in a camp in the Saudi desert before being brought to Finland by officials.

Inspired by his family's own integration into Finnish society as newly arrived Iraqi refugees, Al-Taee says that previous generations of immigrants could be used to help integrate the latest arrivals. "What can be done, and what should be done, look at refugees like myself, look at communities who have been here about 20 years, who understand both cultures", adding it is a cost-effective way of starting the integration process, whether or not asylum applications are rejected further down the line.

Above all, Al-Taee says that now, Finland must be prepared to offer a well prepared safe haven from people fleeing the violence in the Middle East. "If they're looking for a safe place, and running from violence, we should have the elements now and the tools to integrate them into society before it's too late".

Rio Gandara / HS
Al-Lamin perhe heidän asunnossaan Myllypurossa tammikuussa 2012 Helsingissä.
Al-Lamin perhe heidän asunnossaan Myllypurossa tammikuussa 2012 Helsingissä.
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