Abraham Lincoln once said, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” This quote is not only true, but a perfect example for why European nations, as well as the U.S., should continue taking in Syrian refugees.
According to Al Jazeera, many European countries considered closing their borders to Syrian refugees when far right fear-mongering and anti-refugee rhetoric swelled after the Paris attacks.
CNN reported that at least 128 people were killed in the attacks, for which the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility.
The US and Europe created ISIL by sloppily invading Iraq and disbanding its army. Most of the original ISIL fighters were unemployed, unpaid Iraqi military.
When the Syrian people rose up against the current brutal regime in their country, ISIL, created by the chaos in Iraq, came in to exploit the turmoil and power vacuum.
Many critics, including GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson, argue that terrorists will exploit the refugee migration to slip into countries like a Trojan horse, according to CNN.
“The jihadists want to infiltrate our nation,” Carson said. “That would be foolishness to take in people from a region where we don’t have any way in making a determination if this person is radicalized already or potentially radicalized.”
Carson and many other critics ignore one major fact.
The biggest recruiter of ISIL is the reality that many people are unemployed or unpaid in Syria and other regions of the Middle East. ISIL guarantees a steady pay check and food for their families.
By refusing asylum to Syrian refugees, this increases the chances that they will turn to ISIL out of desperation to stay alive and take care of their families, thereby creating more terrorists.
Europe and the U.S. cannot simply sit this out and refuse to take in refugees in the midst of a crisis that they helped create.
This is akin to partially blowing up a building, and then refusing to help save survivors because we’re afraid the entire building will collapse on us.
Of course appropriate and extensive security measures must take place. Every country who admits refugees should conduct extensive background and security checks to weed out anyone affiliated with terrorist groups.
While this will not always be 100 percent foolproof, the chances of keeping out terrorists greatly increases. This option is far more palpable than allowing hundreds of thousands of innocents to die or be recruited by ISIL.
This is and should be the most appealing reason for taking in refugees.
The more loving we are towards the refugees fleeing violence, the harder it is to convince people extremism is their only salvation or a righteous cause. Nothing helps create more extremists quite like hate.
Adam Epstein, a writer for Quartz, wrote a chilling article showing the parallels between now and the 1930s when the U.S. heavily rejected taking in Jewish refugees.
“In the 1930s, thousands of Jews desperate to escape Hitler’s regime began applying for safe haven in the US and other countries,” Epstein wrote. “Americans didn’t want them.”
A chart published in the article shows that Americans polled at 67.4 percent to disallow Jewish refugees into the US.
“That was before Kristallnacht—the night the persecution of Jews turned horribly violent, marking the ‘unofficial’ beginning of what would later be referred to as the Holocaust,” Epstein said. “Still, Americans were largely unmoved.”
A poll taken two months after the start of Kristallnacht showed that Americans still polled at 61 percent to reject taking in Jewish refugees. We all know how the Holocaust ended.
This is not to suggest that the U.S. and its allies are responsible for the murder of six million Jews. Germany has the responsibility for that.
What this does suggest is that this history of xenophobia is clearly repeating itself and will once again leave blood on all of our hands before all is said and done.