American right-wing politicians do not want refugees from Syria. Republicans, the 2016 presidential election candidates in particular, compete with each other in spreading panic and demonizing Syrians escaping the war.
“Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values,” said President Obama shortly after the attacks in Paris. Obama dubbed Ted Cruz’s proposal to allow only Christian refugees from the Middle East to enter the U.S. preposterous and contrary to American values. Obama has made assurances that each and every refugee will be thoroughly scrutinized. He committed to accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016, whereas the most successful 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, stated the U.S. should accept 65,000.
Barbarians Are Beheading Us
Candidates fighting for the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential election have completely different views on the subject. Donald Trump, who used to warn of barbarians waiting at the gates of America, is now warning that they have already entered the country. The billionaire wants all mosques to be invigilated and those suspected of spreading hatred to be closed down. Trump raised the alarm that “…to take in 250,000 people — some of whom are going to have problems, big problems — is just insane.” The issue with his statement is that the U.S. has taken in 2,164 Syrians since the outbreak of the Syrian war. What is more, the U.S. has the most rigorous screening system for political asylum seekers, and they often have to wait 18 to 24 months to enter the country.
Sen. Marco Rubio claimed the Paris attacks were a “clash of civilizations,” so he clearly considers the Islamic State to be the Islamic civilization. In a similar manner, Ohio Gov. John Kasich proposed opening a new government agency that would spread Judeo-Christian values in the Middle East. There are two conclusions to be drawn here: Kasich either has no knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion, or he is ignorant about the reality in the Middle East.
Ted Cruz believes that letting in thousands of Muslims after the events in Paris would be insane, and that only Christian refugees should be admitted. Jeb Bush did not go as far as his Republican colleague, but he did admit that Christians should be given priority when it comes to granting asylum. During the last Republican debate, Bush commented that Christians in Lebanon get beheaded, and that comment was not questioned (not even by those hosting the debate), despite the fact that Beirut provides asylum to thousands of Christians escaping the Islamic State group, and that 38 percent of the Lebanese population is Christian and actively contributes to the country’s politics.
It is significant that Jeb Bush did not mention Iraq, considering that over three quarters of Iraqi Christians were forced to leave the country after the war initiated by Jeb’s brother, George W. Bush. Before Saddam Hussein’s regime was abolished, there were 1.4 million Christians living in Iraq. Currently, this number fluctuates between 260,000 and 320,000. Mosul, despite being under Hussein’s dictatorship, was a sanctuary for thousands of Christians who were free to follow their religion. After conquering the city in June of last year, the jihadi presented Christians with an ultimatum: Convert to Islam and continue paying the jizya tax, or die. Many Christians found shelter in northern Iraq, among the Kurds, but even there, they are still victim to the Islamic State group.
Over 25 Republican governors have declared that they will not allow Syrian refugees to enter their states. On Nov. 19, voting 289-137, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a bill to suspend the refugee intake until key security agencies provide guarantees that refugees pose no security risk for citizens. Obviously, security agencies cannot and do not want to provide any such guarantees. “There are always risks in allowing any foreigners into the U.S.,” said FBI Director James Comey, adding that the bill will prevent the intake of any refugees, in addition to making things harder for tourists and even those visitors who don’t require visas.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vouched to his voters in a radio interview that no Syrian refugees will be allowed in his state. When asked if this would apply to those under the age of 5, he confirmed they should not have the right of entry either. During a rally in Alabama, Donald Trump swore that he saw with his own eyes thousands of Arab people cheering as the World Trade Center twin towers tumbled. He reiterated this statement the following day when talking to ABC, despite the absence of any photographic or video evidence from any media agency to confirm Trump’s statement. Trump was accused of lying by not only New Jersey authorities, local police departments and mayors, but even by Marco Rubio and Ben Carson. Having compared refugees to “rabid dogs,” Carson, a retired neurosurgeon fighting for the Republican presidential nomination, managed to outdo all his Republican colleagues with his choice of words, including the Texas agriculture commissioner who compared Syrian refugees to rattlesnakes.