Should the Syrian Refugees Still Be Welcomed to U. S. despite the Attack in Paris?

HomeEssaysHistory and PoliticsShould the Syrian Refugees Still Be Welcomed to U. S. despite the Attack in Paris?

Terrorism has become one of the gravest global problems of the 21st century, beginning with the attacks on 11 September 2001. Today, another problem for many countries, both Western and Eastern, is the issue of resettlement of refugees from the countries in the war and persecution. Due to the civil war of jihad, millions of Syrian people, including women, children, and old people, seek asylum in the neighboring countries, in the European Union, as well as in the United States. The whole international community has decided to follow human values and support victims of the war who plead for help (“The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained”). However, some people claim that there is a danger in admitting refugees across borders, and it is the danger of letting in the terrorists. The stimuli for these fears and harsh statements against accepting Syrian refugees are the terrorist attacks in some European cities: in Madrid, then in London, and now, in Paris (Noble). Recent horrible scenes in Paris have provoked many ardent statements about the necessity of flat denial to accept refugees, in particular, those made by a number of American politicians, especially from the Republican Party (“After Paris Attacks, Vilifying Refugees”). Taking into consideration the opposing viewpoints, the present paper grounds on logical and evidence-based arguments and concludes that the Syrian refugees should still be welcomed to the U. S. despite the attack in Paris.

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The editorial board of The New York Times fairly noticed that, after terrorist attacks, the initial reaction is a kind of panic that aims at not letting people into the country. This reaction seems to be associated with the psychological peculiarities of human behavior under the conditions of overwhelming fear and a sense of helplessness. In this case, the only way out seems to be “battening down the hatches,” which is called by editors “an impulsive and politically expedient response to terrorist attacks” (“After Paris Attacks, Vilifying Refugees”). Many representatives of the American government have already expressed their opinions that the United States should not accept Syrian refugees, or, at least, admit only Christians. Among them, there are Republican candidates, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, as well as governors of several states (“After Paris Attacks, Vilifying Refugees”). In particular, 26 Republican governors and all of their presidential candidates attempt to block the entry of Syrian refugees, including innocent toddlers and orphans (Kristof). Kristof is also of the opinion that politicians are simply “fearmongering.” It is logical to assume that such a reaction is immature and cannot characterize a democratic and powerful state capable of controlling not only the situation in the own country but also in the whole world. One should not forget that among the major tasks and politics of the U. S., there is taking an active part in ensuring global peace and welfare. Correspondingly, the steps undertaken by such a state should demonstrate consequential, sensible, and thoughtful judgment but not spontaneous decision-making. Consequently, the U. S. cannot afford to fall a victim of panic caused by “harrowing scenes of carnage in Paris” (“After Paris Attacks, Vilifying Refugees”) and react spontaneously by simply vilifying Syrian refugees and shutting down the borders. Such a reaction of the American state would be evidence of weakness rather than the strength of a powerful country.

Besides, there is a sharp question of morality, in other words, eternal ethical values, which are true for all human beings regardless of their origin, religion, or other convictions. One should sensibly agree with the editorial board of The New York Times that it is morally unacceptable to consider all refugees from Syria terrorists just because they are from the same country (“After Paris Attacks, Vilifying Refugees”). Since the U. S. propagates tolerance to different religious views, it is also immoral and contrary to the values of the American Constitution to state, “Muslims are inherently dangerous” (“After Paris Attacks, Vilifying Refugees”). In this regard, Nicholas Kristof expresses his regret that America does not welcome refugees simply because they are from Syria, in the way it used to accept, for instance, East Europeans in the late 1940s. Furthermore, he provides an example of what happened when America refused to admit Jewish refugee children from Germany in 1939. As a result, the Nazis then murdered some children on the ship that was turned away by the United States (Kristof). Therefore, concludes Kristof, this stain on the American conscience can be repeated in the case with Syrian refugees. On a related note, Barrack Obama asserted that it would be in accordance with the American values to help refugees from Syria find safety because many of them are also victims of terrorism (Lapowsky). The President considers “slamming the door in the face of refugees,” particularly, women, children, and survivors of torture, the betrayal of the American values (Lapowsky). Moreover, for long, the United States and the European Union have attempted to defend human rights internationally and protect those civilians that try to escape the war and persecution. The Paris attacks cannot be reasons to change the whole refugee policy, as President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission claimed (“After Paris Attacks, Vilifying Refugees”). All in all, one should obviously agree with Kristof that to treat the Syrian refugees as any other human beings needing help and protection seems to be the right thing to do. Moreover, as Obama stated, Americans can “win this fight with our values” and America is able to ensure its security along with welcoming asylum seekers, especially the most vulnerable Syrians (Lapowsky).

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If one looks at the statistics, it also vividly supports the welcoming of refugees without a ground for security worries. Thus, since the 11th of September, only three individuals out of 785,000 refugees have been arrested due to suspicions of terrorism (Kristof). Additionally, officials indicate that one-half of the accepted refugees in the U. S. have been children, roughly half female, and a quarter – people over 60. On the whole, only about 2 percent have been single males of a combat age (“Refugees from War Aren’t the Enemy”). Furthermore, one should not forget that the 4,5 million Syrians have fled their native country to escape the sorrow and death threatening everyone due to ingenious brutal activities of religious extremists (“The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained”). Therefore, the world must unite and solve the problem of desperate asylum seekers together. Not only neighboring Syria countries (Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey) have to share this burden. However, at present, 95 percent of Syrians have found shelter there while, for instance, the Arab States have accepted zero refugees. This fact was named shameful by the international community (“The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained”). The Western countries, which are more prosperous than any others in the world, have both a possibility and moral obligation to help the distressed and prevent human beings from suffering and dying. Germany has shown a good example having taken in 800,000 refugees in 2015; it is more than the entire European Union did (300 000) in 2014 (“The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained”). More and more citizens, but not politicians, start feeling sympathy and strive to help. The facts indicate that the fear of Islam being spread is statistically ungrounded. In such a way, even if the EU had accepted all 4 million Syrians and 100 % of them were Muslims, the Muslim percentage would have only risen from about 4% to 5%; obviously, it is not a dramatic change (“The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained”). Therefore, it is sensible to conclude that the Muslim minority is not the issue to be afraid: it is not new and not so dangerous, as the statistics indicate. Moreover, Obama suggested admitting only 10 000 Syrian during 2016 (Lapowsky). It is a very modest number, especially for such a powerful state as the U. S. Thus, it will not threaten the security of native citizens but will contribute to the common moral duty of saving suffering human beings.

Still, for many people, the acceptance of Syrian refugees is associated with the problem of security. For example, Rubio warned that at least one out of a thousand Syrian refugees can turn out to be an ISIS fighter (“After Paris Attacks, Vilifying Refugees”). Similarly, Donald Trump asserts that if he wins the presidential elections, “they are going back.” (Salter) His arguments against Syrian refugees are that it is not safe to let them stay. He acknowledges that maybe, it is not nice to make them go back; however, he confidently asserts, “We can’t afford to be nice, we’re taking care of the whole world.” (Salter) It is his principal stand, which is obviously contradictory if one applies a little logic while considering it. Donald Trump is talking about taking care of the whole world. First, it means that all people are supposed to be taken care of. Syrian citizens are also representatives of the human race, and they are the people of our world. Moreover, at present, they seem to need help and protection from religious extremists more than any other nation in the world. These people need care most of all since they look for defense from the war in their native country. The majority flees Syria to seek help and care from other civilized, highly human governments. Then, the question arises of why Americans should not take care of them and treat the distressed in a humane way. Furthermore, if one starts treating them otherwise, it will be against the U. S. Constitution, which stands for the equality of all human beings. Finally, as Kristof fairly remarked, if the U. S. is going to ban Syrians applying for refugee status for fear of terrorism, it will be even more reason to keep out all foreign university students, as well as tourists. The reason for such a decision is that ISIS fighters are even more likely to appear among the latter groups. Additionally, the editorial board of The New York Times asserts that the practice shows that potential terrorists are more likely either to live here already or come via illegal means. Moreover, refugees seeking resettlement in the U. S. first apply for refugee status from abroad and wait until they are approved (“Refugees from War Aren’t the Enemy”). Therefore, the threat to security and fear of Syrian refugees seeking help and sympathy evidently lack sensible reasoning and grounds. The other side, which is treating innocent human beings with suspicion and even abandoning them, would be more threatening the human moral dignity, and that is even worse for decent civilized humans.

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By and large, one should admit that the question of Syrian refugees is both an important and controversial issue. For that reason, it has provoked enormous debate and contradictory statements among politicians of different governments, including the U. S. Although the motives of those claiming against the acceptance of refugees can be easily understood, there are more sensible arguments for letting them in and supporting them. First, the American state should ground its decision-making not on the panic caused by the attacks, but on a reasonable and cool judgment, which prompts the engagement in supporting human beings that need help. Next, the U. S. government should better find more effective ways to cope with terrorism and Islamic extremists. Moreover, the statistics indicate that it is not reasonable to search for terrorists among the victims of the war and persecution. Therefore, instead of wasting energy on call for the fight against poor Syrian refugees, who plead for human understanding and support, American politicians should find measures that will really guarantee safety from terrorism.

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