The Star Says: Refugee crisis is city’s hottest topic

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It is no surprise that the Syrian refugee issue, which we have been reporting on over the last few days, has attracted so much attention and comment.

The situation provides ample opportunities for passionate opinions on both sides of the argument.

While I stand behind yesterday’s leader column in The Star today we publish a wide range of differing views from readers on our letters pages.

We also reveal the results of the poll we ran on our website.

Sheffield residents are overwhelmingly against the city taking in refugees.

After more than 1,500 votes 29 per cent agree that it was right for Sheffield Council to welcome Syrian refugees.

But 1,128 people – some 71 per cent – say the council should not be welcoming refugees.

The figures – according to this poll at least – show that people are extremely concerned about refugees being welcomed into the city.

It is a view that should be respected by decision makers and efforts made to find out the underlying reasons for this.

There’s no doubt that people are worried about the ISIS threat to flood Europe with terrorists by using the migrant crisis as a cover.

Also, many parts of our area have already seen dramatic changes with the arrival of people from Eastern Europe.

Would those who voted against taking in refugees have been more receptive if there hadn’t been such an influx over recent years?

Refugees, of course, are a totally different case to economic migrants who are moving freely from one part of the European Union to another.

The Star can today reveal that 484 refugees have been rehomed in Sheffield since 2011, including 130 being housed here this year.

This number includes Syrian Ahed Kaboul who has spoken exclusively to us about the battered land with ‘no jobs and no resources,’ where no-one is safe – even in their own homes.

Ahed has quite a story. It is one that will receive sympathy in some quarters while others will feel, that while his story is sad, it is not up to us to solve the world’s problems.

Whatever your opinion Aheb can’t speak highly enough about Sheffield and its people.

The city is now his home and he is determined to give something back to those who welcomed him so warmly.