Slovakia is to admit only Christian refugees as there are not enough mosques for Muslim immigrants to worship in, an Interior Ministry spokesman said. Ivan Metik said that the country only had a small Muslim community, and there were concerns about whether immigrants would want to settle in the country long-term.
"That's the reason we want to mostly choose people, who really want to start a new life in Slovakia," he told CNN. "And Slovakia as a Christian country can really help Christians from Syria to find a new home in Slovakia."
Last month, EU member states agreed to take in 32,000 immigrants, with tens of thousands fleeing poverty and conflict in Afghanistan, Syria and north Africa arriving in Italy and Greece after making perilous crossings over the Mediterranean. EU commissioner for migration Dmitris Avramopolous said that another 8,000 will be provided with asylum by the end of the year.
The country is to accept 200 people from camps in Turkey, Italy and Greece. Metik said that he was opposed to EU quotas on migrants being imposed, and Slovakia would consider asylum seekers applying under the normal procedures.
"It's nothing against religion, it's not about discrimination, but it will be very false and insincere solidarity if we take now more than 1,000 people to Slovakia who don't want to live in Slovakia," Metik said. "You can't force somebody to live somewhere. Most of them will leave in (a) few days to Germany, Great Britain or Scandinavian countries. It's not a solution, it's not help."
EU Commission spokeswoman Annika Breithard said that the EU was opposed to any form of discrimination, but would not comment directly on the Slovakian statement.