Tragedy shook not only a great city, but the entire world Friday as terrorists unleashed gunfire and detonated bombs at multiple locations in Paris. All of France has been in shock since, and the international community shined many of the world’s great monuments in red, white and blue, the color of the French flag, out of solidarity.
Such a tragedy at the hands of jihadi terrorists has likely not struck the western world since the 9/11 attacks in New York City over 14 years ago. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center, the French newspaper, Le Monde, famously ran the headline, “Today We Are All Americans,” in solidarity for an ally. It’s safe to say that the world now mourns for Paris in the same way it did for New York City, that fateful morning in early September.
We should all continue to #PrayForParis and #PrayForPeace as the world continues to reel from the attacks.
One debate this tragedy has enflamed is far more local to many of us in the United States. Since the ongoing crisis in Syria has driven out millions of refugees, the U.S. and western allies have pledged to accept as many displaced Syrians as possible. A worry among one contingency of American policy makers is that many of the refugees coming to the U.S. may be operatives of the world’s premier terrorist organization, ISIS.
Some consider the incoming refugees to have perhaps already been radicalized by ISIS, and that our acceptance of them into the nation will only further breed the threat of terrorism at home. The governors of 23 states have already signed executive orders, or plan to introduce legislation to halt the admittance of Syrian refugees into their states, according to USA Today.
On Monday, Arkansas’ own Asa Hutchinson made such an order. He tweeted, “As Governor I will oppose Syrian refugees being relocated to Arkansas.” Some have suggested that we accept refugees, but permit a religious test or only accept the Christians that desire asylum within the United States.
To deny the victims of an international conflict refuge in the United States, is, for lack of a better term, simply un-American. The U.S. was, and should continue to be, known as a land that yearns to be the home of those simply trying to create a better life. This isn’t a political issue of immigration, like taking in those south of our border -- this is a human rights catastrophe. And if U.S. officials hope to keep our country in contention for its status as a world leader, it should take up the role and lead from the front.
The national security side is devoid of a legislation-altering argument, because America doesn’t simply wave in anybody left or right. The Department of Homeland Security has a thorough program to screen out criminals, fundamental jihadists, and others who should not be given a home within our borders. We want the families who have gone through a living hell to stick together. We want the children who still wish for the opportunity to lead a normal life again.
If we do not take refugees in, they could languish in refugee camps for years. The risk of those people becoming radicalized is far stronger if the world does nothing to help them. Much like youth in inner-city American homes, if they’re left isolated, their risk of joining a gang increases simply because it gives them a place in society.
Syrian kids sitting just outside of Syria have the same predicament. The hardest part is simply getting them away from danger and placed in a position to lead a better life.
France will endure, and groups like ISIS will never win. The will of an entire country is far stronger than an organization bent on global terror. If the world wishes to limit such an attack from happening again, it would be smart to show kindness to those most affected by the ongoing conflict. Love breeds love. Abandonment breeds contempt. It’s our decision.