Belgium’s State Secretary for Asylum and Migration came under fire for implying that the country favors Christian asylum seekers over non-Christians, reports said.
In a message posted to celebrate the Easter holiday on his official Twitter account, minister Theo Francken from the far-right New Flemish Alliance (N-VA Party) said that Belgium has welcomed 903 Syrian Christian asylum seekers since 2015 and that he sees it as a “duty” to serve the Syrian Christians.
Non-governmental organizations criticized Francken’s post for being discriminatory as he only touched upon the suffering of Christian migrants, even though others suffer just as much.
The NGOs highlighted that religion should not play a role to determine which people are accepted as asylum seekers and that the circumstances they face should be taken as the main criteria for processing their applications.
Francken’s statements particularly disregard the suffering of Muslims and people from other faiths, who suffer at the hands of oppressive groups in Syria, NGOs noted.
The minister had previously come under fire for anti-migrant statements.
For instance, in 2017 he attacked aid groups for saving drowning migrants in the Mediterranean and told them to stop saving migrants heading to Europe.