Young Refugee Staying With Icelandic Family - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Young Refugee Staying With Icelandic Family

Published May 11, 2012

One of the two teenagers arrested and jailed for arriving in Iceland with false passports is staying with the head of the Society of Muslims in Iceland, and is reportedly eager to learn Icelandic and start a new life here.
As reported, the two boys – aged 15 and 16 – arrived at Keflavík International Airport on April 25. Passport control questioned the validity of their passports, and they turned out to be falsified. The two boys confessed, saying they were seeking asylum in Iceland. On April 30, they were sentenced to 30 days in prison.
Numerous Icelandic authorities objected and had the boys freed, and now, Vísir reports, the older boy is staying in the family home of Salmann Tamimi, head of the Society of Muslims in Iceland.
Bilal Fathi, who is actually from Morocco and not Algeria, as originally reported, is apparently adjusting well. However, his nine days spent in jail in Suðurnes was a terrifying experience for him, and he said he felt like a serious criminal to be imprisoned.
Over the past year, Bilal has traveled around Europe in search of a better life. Before arriving in Iceland, he was living with a Moroccan man in Finland, who reportedly mistreated him and refused to pay him for work. He then set his sights on Iceland. Bilal enjoys living in Iceland, and hopes he can create a future here.
“He is very happy now,” said Salmann. “He lives with a family, is safe and feels comfortable. He will start learning Icelandic immediately and intends to practice football. He is a very polite boy, and my wife is pleased with him, as he helps with the laundry.”
Their cases are currently being reviewed by immigration authorities.


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