#Syrian families and the battle to make #refugees feel welcome

#AceNewsReport – Nov.29: When a group of Syrian families arrived in Paisley this month, some locals came out and hugged them, but others posted racist abuse online – and stuck to their guns when exposed by the local press. So is there a problem in Paisley or across the country? And if so, what’s the best way to take it on?

The smirry rain seemed relentless as people milled around the grounds of Paisley’s 12th-century abbey, babies in buggies with the rain hoods up, kids running around in trainers with LED lights flashing, others hoisted on to the shoulders of daddies. Here and there were reindeer antlers, Santa’s helpers outfits, the odd Christmas jumper, and almost everywhere hands were clutching little paper flags supporting the west of Scotland town’s bid to become the UK city of culture in 2021.

As “buddies” – denizens of Paisley – gathered for the two-hour build-up to the switching on of their Christmas lights (postponed from the original date of 14 November, the day after the Paris attacks), few would have noticed that among their number was a group of refugees recently arrived from Syria – one in a wheelchair, another with a limp, a small group of adult men and young teenage boys. They didn’t stay long: the rain was perhaps too heavy, the crowd too big, the square not entirely wheelchair-friendly. Or perhaps they simply ducked in to the dry of Paisley town hall to watch the Punch and Judy show, join the queues for the face painter or the balloon twister. Just like all the other families.

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