Fear Testing America’s Character

refugeesOn Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, tragedy struck France: there was a series of six coordinated terror attacks in and around the capital, killing 128 people. Since then, a growing number of governors, representatives, senators and Presidential candidates have demanded that America close its borders to Syrian refugees fleeing the unspeakable horrors of ISIS.

Once again the character of America is being tested. A strong wave of fear arose when reports surfaced that one of the terrorists involved in the Paris attacks entered Europe as part of the wave of Syrians fleeing civil war. Since then, it would seem America is ready to throw away its longstanding tradition of being the beacon of hope for those who are chased from their homeland. But before speaking prematurely, our leaders should look at the fact that while the Obama administration agreed that America would admit 10,000 Syrian refugees, these refugees are only allowed in the country after the federal government conducts a robust and rigorous screening process.

It appears the majority of Americans are saddling all Syrians with the horrific crimes committed by ISIS. We are demonizing people because of the country from which they are fleeing or the religion they practice. So, who is left to uphold the reputation of America as the place that embraces compassion and equality?

Our nation has been the victim of domestic and foreign terrorism but the only ones to blame are the radicals who commit these terror acts—not the religion, race or country. Yes, our fear has amplified, making it is easy for us to lose our way in moments like this. Fear is very powerful and the terror attack on France struck a chord deep within the hearts of Americans. We do have a legitimate reason to be concerned for our safety and security. However, we cannot condemn all Syrians or all Muslims for the wicked acts of ISIS.

As President Obama stated, “When I hear folks say that maybe we should just admit the Christians and not the Muslims (refugees), when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted—when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution—that’s shameful. That’s not American.”

Submitted by Wiha Powell


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