Published January 30, 2017
While the Icelandic government has condemned President Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims from entering the United States, one Independence Party MP has promised to greet an undefined group of asylum seekers with “a fist of steel”.
Last Saturday, a federal judge put a temporary stay on banning Muslims from select countries entry to the United States, which was part of an executive order issued by US President Donald Trump. The ruling also protects refugees or visa holders who were detained at American airports after the signing of the “Muslim ban” from being deported.
In the wake of Trump’s order, numerous Icelandic politicians have come forward in condemnation. RÚV reports that Minister of Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson has gone so far as to tell reporters he is considering organising an effort amongst other Nordic foreign ministers to officially condemn Trump’s order.
While Icelandic politicians have been diligent in condemning Trump, Independence Party MP Óli Björn Kárason took to Útvarp Saga to stress his position that some asylum seekers come to Iceland “to abuse the welfare system”, while presenting no evidence whatsoever for this assertion.
“When it comes to immigration issues, I think we have really lost our way,” he told listeners. “I want to word it like this: we should open our arms to people who, temporarily or even in the long term, truly need shelter. But we should greet with a hard fist of steel all those who came to Iceland to abuse our welfare system.”
Minister of the Interior Sigríður Á. Andersen has made similar remarks, as RÚV reported, that some asylum seekers come to Iceland for the purpose of “taking advantage of the goodwill of Icelanders” – again, providing no evidence whatsoever for this assertion. In fact, Stundin reports that Sigríður is opposed to reforming the Dublin Regulation system in such a way that European countries would share responsibility for accepting more asylum seekers.