On the Question of Accepting Syrian Refugees: Undecided

The acts of terror in Paris have raised a delicate issue for the plight of the displaced Syrians throughout the world.  They have been chased away by a hard line ideology based on a view of the Quran that is not shared by the majority of Muslims.  This is just an opinion.  I was just listening to a sermon by Reverend Alyn Waller based on the writings of the Apostle Paul.  His interpretation of the Bible reflects his background as the son of a Preacher who grew up in a church family.  He might not have been exposed to the social milieu that has developed the leaders of ISIS.  He preaches from the pulpit of a 15,000 member church.  I cannot imagine one of his members donning a suicide belt to advance the cause of Jesus Christ.

The United States is a country of immigrants.  Anyone who has studied American history can recite the story of the Pilgrims who arrived here as a result of religious persecution in Great Britain.  Native Americans lived here long before the arrival of European settlers.  I will reiterate the religious theme again here because it was also a belief in Manifest Destiny that propelled the expansion of settlers from the Jamestown settlement westward to the Pacific Ocean.  The travails and misery of those inhabitants that were conquered have been the subject of many books and treatises.

Fast forward to 2015.  I have researched the plight of African immigrants who have died at sea trying to find safer havens in Europe.  There have been terrible stories of boats capsizing at sea with bodies washing up on shores.  Each person has a story to tell of the lack of hope that propels them to leave everything for a chance at a better life.  Italy and Greece have reluctantly accepted many of these refugees.  What is the fate of those families that cannot find safe haven in these new countries?  I cannot imagine being returned to a home that was not really a home to begin with.

Image result for syrian refugees

There was a movie that starred Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis that was a pretty decent hit back in 1998.  It was called The Siege.  One scene featured terrorists that had taken over a bus.  Denzel, in character, was going to use his negotiating skills to help defuse the situation.  The terrorists blew the bus up and Denzel spent a good part of the movie recovering from the bombing while doggedly pursuing the members of the cell.  In the last two days, French and Belgian authorities have worked feverishly to locate cells and thwart additional attacks.  One female suspect blew herself up rather than be captured.  I am crossing over into real life in this paragraph.  The anger and discontent portrayed in one if many movies about terrorism has now been playing out on CNN while affecting French citizens in real time.

Is is the religious ideology and fanaticism that has me hesitant to accept Syrian refugees.  We have a large population of Somalian and Ethiopian refugees living in Minnesota.  As much as some people acculturate themselves, the lure of their homeland cause some to despise American values.  I am an American and I embrace my country.  I share the struggles of African Americans and what we have contributed to this country.  We have a number of African immigrants living here in Philadelphia and its suburbs who have fled persecution in Liberia and other West African countries.  I wish them all well in adjusting to a new country and way of life.  I just feel that even with the safe haven of life in the United States, we are targets due to the fact that we are not a Muslim country.     

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