Friday, October 2, 2015

Are the Refugees Really an Islamic Invasion?

"This is my country now," said Abu Abdullah. "No one can say I am Iraqi. I am an American. If I need to defend my country, even to attack Iraq, I am ready to do that."

A Muslim father buries his son with honor at Arlington

On a recent visit to Nashville, Tennessee, I visited newly arrived refugees from the Middle East.  I was reminded how important it is that Americans understand this situation clearly so that our nation can respond in a way that reflects our national values. There's so much false information being hyped by merchants of fear and politicians desperate for votes.

Rest in Peace, Humayun Khan, American Hero
Najib is a recent immigrant from the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan. "I'm tired, I've been working ten hours every day, six days every week," he said. "But freedom takes work. If you want the freedom you have to go out there and work for it." He is excited that his children are in school and learning English. He's hoping to bring over many of his brothers and sisters who still live in the war-torn region.

These immigrants are hoping for their children to fit into the new culture. "We want the children to learn English," said Mohammad, who arrived from Baghdad less than a month ago. "It's the language of the world. Arabic is limited." He described the situation in his area of Baghdad as being so bad that one could not safely leave the house.

This facebook meme sums up the anti-Muslim arguments.
"I am looking for work. I am ready to work, I just need help to get my social security card." Ahmad has been in the US less than two months. He is hoping to get work and establish himself so that he can bring over his family. It is normal for the young men to come first, and brings wives, sisters, and parents later.

There are many political pundits decrying the dangers of accepting these Muslim refugees. There are supposed plots to infiltrate America and Europe with terrorist cells who will impose Sharia Law on unsuspecting westerners.

This is the question before us. Are they coming to kill us and then take over? Is this a cloaked Islamic invasion?

Myth#1 They are coming here to Islamize the West.

I spend a lot of time in the homes of Syrian refugees, talking to them about their despair and hopelessness, and also their hopes and dreams.  They hate radical Islam.  They are fleeing from it. One family that I know well fled specifically to keep their children from being radicalized in school. One father described to me his desire to live in any area that is not under the rule of Islam. Instead of flooding to the Islamic State, Muslims are fleeing it by the millions, and their rejection of the Islamic State is a major embarrassment and challenge to the legitimacy of the Islamic State.

The reasons that they are fleeing to the West are not surprising. UNHCR lists many of the major reasons, including poverty and loss of hope. My Syrian friends often express that they no longer see a future in Syria even if the war ends soon. Whole cities are laid waste.  Families are broken apart by death and division.  Many people are injured both physically and psychologically from the war.

Myth #2 The Islamic State is sending a "secret army" to infiltrate the West

Traveling to join the Islamic State is the example of Abraham
People are spreading this because they are ignorant of the beliefs and practices of the Islamic State. The Islamic State preaches "Hijrah" which is the call of all Muslims to come and live in the Islamic State. It is preached as a religious duty for men and women to move to and live in the Islamic State, just as the early Muslims all flocked to Medina to join the first Islamic State in the days of Mohammad. They devoted an entire edition of their online magazine to describing how important it is to come and live in the Islamic State.  They want the refugees more than the West wants them, but the refugees don't want to live under their oppressive rule.

Myth #3 The US will be overrun by chaos like Europe

Europe is not being overrun by chaos, but even if that were the case, it will not happen in the US.  When people use what is happening in Europe to predict what will happen here, they forget something very important: The Atlantic Ocean.  Europe is working to control an immigration situation that is building at their borders.  Refugees who come to the US will do so on an airplane, as part of a tightly controlled process. The Muslim population in the US is less than 1%, and taking on an additional 200,000 refugees will raise it to -still less than 1%.  Muslims are dispersed throughout the US population and have shown very little tendency to form enclaves.

These men are not imposing Judaism on anyone
Myth #4 They will establish Sharia Law

The Constitution does not allow any religious law to be imposed on people.  If Muslim immigrants want to live under Sharia court ruling, they can do what numbers of Jewish and Catholic citizens already do -voluntary arbitration.  It's not legally binding unless both parties agree for it to be so.  Are there any areas in the US where citizens are forced to live under Jewish of Catholic law? Again, most of them have no desire to live under Sharia Law anyway, and the ones who do cannot ever force it on anyone else.

Myth #5 They will stay on welfare

Muslim Americans are middle class and main stream. They are well educated, well integrated into society, and at least as affluent as the national average.  This is especially true of immigrant Muslims.  Poor Muslims are often converts from the spread of Islam among poor, black Americans in prison populations.

Myth #6 We should send them back

This is an evil idea. Sending refugees back into a war zone is wicked.  We look back now in horror at the stories of Jewish refugees who were turned away.  We recoil at the idea that ships had to return Jews to their deaths because no one wanted them, or trusted them.  The voices of fear and bigotry caused our nation, and others, to commit an evil act.  We must not listen to those voices again.  We must rebuke them.  For the people fleeing the Islamic State, ad the butchery of the Assad regime, this is life and death.

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