On Friday, a Sudanese man went on a stabbing spree in a Glasgow hotel hosting asylum seekers. Experts believe the city has been flooded with people fleeing conflict-torn countries as a result of Western military campaigns. The UK has emerged as a top destination for those seeking peace and economic benefits, they note.
A 28-year-old Sudanese native, Badreddin Abadlla Adam, went on a knife rampage in Glasgow’s Park Inn Hotel on 26 June, an attack that left six people injured, including a police officer. The attacker, who was shot dead by police, was one among around a hundred of asylum-seekers housed in the hotel during the coronavirus pandemic, in a bid to prevent their exposure to COVID-19. According to members of the Sudanese community, the suspect’s mental health had recently “deteriorated”.
The government’s decision to place asylum-seekers in hotels was heavily criticised by some pro-refugee groups several weeks ago, with activists sending a letter to the home secretary, Priti Patel, citing concerns over migrants’ mental health and emotional wellbeing. Patel was also earlier urged by civic leaders to raise the asylum-seekers weekly allowance by $25, from around $45 currently.
The Mears Group, the British Home Office’s subcontractor that has been providing housing and support to asylum seekers in Scotland since September 2019, was also criticized for its alleged mistreatment of migrants. The complaints raised by the activists in relation to asylum-seekers were varying from food quality, sanitization and phone top-ups to the company’s allegedly “abrupt” move of the potential refugees to the hotels from their previous accommodation provided by the government.
On Thursday, the Mears Group CEO, John Taylor, said that the company was closely overseeing every hotel where the asylum-seekers were staying, including the Park Inn, but still noted that it could have been “challenging” for many to live in a hotel for months. However, claims over the low quality of food and poor treatment of the guests were dismissed by the group.
Complaints of asylum-seekers about “bad housing” conditions are “deeply offensive” to many Scottish citizens “living in damp, crowded and run-down accommodation themselves”, believes Nick Griffin, former chair of the British National Party and former-member of the European Parliament,
“Compared to them, the asylum-seekers are very well-treated and fortunate”, he adds.