In the fall Kristin and I both read Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West by Behzad Yaghmaian. The author offers a firsthand profile of the refugee communities in several major stops along the refugee highway through Europe. He has an entire chapter devoted to Athens. It’s an easy and very interesting read, full of stories of refugees from the Muslim world.

If you don’t quite have the time to read an entire book, the Asia Times newspaper (which is based in Hong Kong, but covers all of Asia) recently published an article on illegal immigration to Europe. The piece specifically highlights the Greek-Turkish maritime border. It is an interesting read, and well-worth five minutes of your time. The article describes the (illegal) Greek coastguard practice of intercepting in-coming boats of refugees, ushering them back towards the Turkish coast (about 400 meters away), and sinking the ship – thus forcing the refugees to swim back to the Turkish border (but many can’t swim). Read the article for yourself here. Below is an overview of the government’s policies, quoted from the article:

In Greece the policy seems to be “hear no evil, see no evil”, with the Greek government claiming that it does not have an illegal-immigrant problem.

Amnesty International Turkey chairman Taner Kilic, a refugee-law expert, says Greece does not have the right to deport illegal immigrants secretly into Turkey’s territorial waters and that to do so is a violation of refugee and human-rights laws. Amnesty has drawn attention to Greek behavior before, with a damning report in 2005 stating that Greece had a discriminatory policy against asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees.

“Asylum procedures are not properly carried out in Greece,” Kilic said. “According to the official figures in that country, the number of asylum requests accepted is 1%. There is no such ratio in the world. This shows that discrimination is an official policy.”

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