Islamophobia slams the door on Syrian refugees

090210Cassie Rhame

Staff Writer

With the recent Paris attacks still fresh, our country’s Islamophobia fever has spiked even higher, creating overwhelming support for a recently introduced bill that would “temporarily” shut the doors on Syrian refugees into the United States.

We all heard about Ahmed Mohamed and his clock “bomb.” This incident was clear indication that people still have an unwarranted fear of the Muslim community. ISIS continuing to terrorize around the world has not helped this hysteria lessen.

The bill, created by Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), “temporarily halts Obama’s plan to allow thousands of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until authorities can verify that none of them pose a security threat. Specifically, it would require the Homeland Security secretary, FBI director, and Director of National Intelligence to sign off on any refugees admitted to the U.S., holding them personally accountable,” according to The Hill’s website.

The bill sounds practical and decent when stated in this light; however, the issue comes with the overlooked devaluation this creates for these Syrian refugees, and the many holes that come from it. McCaul says his bill is to only temporarily put a stop the Obama’s open policy, when in reality, as expressed by FBI Director James Comey, it would make it impossible for any refugees to enter the United States. Comey also told administration and Congressional officials that this could create difficulty for “travelers from about three dozen countries that are allowed easier travel to the U.S. under the visa waiver program,” according to CNN’s website.

“With the sheer volume of refugees attempting to seek asylum here, it’s near impossible to screen every single one as thoroughly as needed,” UWF senior and criminal justice major Zac LeClair said. “It simply escalates our already vulnerable state to more possible terrorist attacks.” While LeClair brings up a valid point – the risk is simply not as high as many will have you believe.

In the 14 years since Sept. 11, 2001, the United States has resettled 784,000 refugees from around the world, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute, a D.C.-area think tank, which was posted to The Atlantic’s website. “And within that population, three people have been arrested for activities related to terrorism. None of them were close to executing an attack inside the U.S., and two of the men were caught trying to leave the country to join terrorist groups overseas.”

The bill cleared the House on Nov. 19 with a 289-137 vote, pulling support from 47 Democrats and a majority of Republicans. With threats of filibuster coming from Senate Democrats, McCaul says he hopes to insert the legislation into the inclusive omnibus spending measure, which must be passed by Dec. 11, in turn forcing it to reach President Obama.

Obama has made clear his plan to otherwise veto the legislation.

The quick clearance from the House on this bill is astounding, and nothing more than a classic result of fearmongering. With the backing of several Republican governors, and politicians such as Donald Trump spewing his nonsensical lies and blatant prejudice, citizens have quickly fallen under the spell of political manipulation.

Fact Check breaks down the truth of what these politicians are spreading. There is a false sense of hope that this bill has been instilled for the protection of the citizens, but with this obvious fear and urge to take the easy way out, it is clear that the bill is all but a positive enforcement of national security.

“We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic,” Obama said in the Philippines on Wednesday, according to CNN’s website. “We don’t make good decisions if it’s based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.”

What is exceptionally disturbing is Ted Cruz’s suggested religious test on these refugees, and how the states should only accept the sworn Christians. As if there is more proof needed that the only reason for this blocking of refugees is inherent of Islamophobia and bigotry.

These politicians in favor of the bill will have you believe that the refugee vetting process is quick and easy, and has terrorists popping in left and right. The process is extensive, and it takes up to two years for each refugee to get approved. To educate yourself of the process, visit here.

While the United States is busy responding to its own personal agenda, French president Francois Hollande has urged that the country will stay true to its values, and would accept 30,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years.

“Hollande said it was France’s ‘humanitarian duty’ to honor its commitments to refugees, even in the wake of the chilling terror attacks,” according to the Washington Post’s website.

“No one asked the U.S. to intervene in the Middle East,” past French UWF exchange student and business major freshman Aubane Decobert said. “They intervened, and bombed those countries. The U.S. should take responsibility and host refugees.”

In regards to the alleged Syrian refugee that was involved in the Paris attacks, here is a Washington Post article that breaks down exactly what we know so far.

“None of the identified attackers in Paris were Syrian citizens, although one was found with a fake Syrian passport (there is no evidence that he entered Europe in a group of Syrian refugees),” according to the Houston Press website.

So, again, where is this increasing fear of Syrian refugees even coming from, and why do we continue to label those escaping a war-torn country as terrorists? My answer is conclusive with a popular theory — the Islamic State wants you to hate refugees.

“I think it is pathetic that a country known for its acceptance of those from struggling worlds is going to hide in fear,” UWF sophomore communications major Courtney Randall said. “This nation was founded from refugees, and we are using our unnecessary hate of Muslims to make this ignorance OK.”

ISIS has been terrorizing its own states for years now, creating even more conflict in Syria and Iraq. By essentially building Syria up as nothing more than a war zone along with the Syrian government, they have deliberately put these families in the midst of violence and injustice. Why would they want them to find refuge?

ISIS wants to create conflict between the Muslim community and the Western World. They hope to create such hate from the West that Muslims have no choice but to run or join the Islamic State.

“The group calculates that a small number of attackers can profoundly shift the way that European society views its 44 million Muslim members and, as a result, the way European Muslims view themselves,” according to the Washington Post’s website.

The terror group seeks attention brought away from the reality, and onto even furthering the suffering of the already victimized Muslim community.

There is, as agreed upon by most, absolutely no doubt that this large of an influx of people into one country causes a threat, but the United States has never been commended for its refusal of refugees. We are a country known to accept and allow those who have lost all hope and are afraid of their homelands, a comforting safe-haven to turn to. We are not a country that hides in fear of our own lives, but one that reaches its hands out to help.

If we continue to live in fear of Islam, we are giving the extremists what they want — hate.