Creating a database of Muslims and ID cards marked with their religion while monitoring anyone that goes to a mosque? That was presidential primary front-runner Donald Trump? Comments about the Syrian refugees being like dogs with some of them being rabid made by Dr. Ben Carson (yes, he's an actual doctor)? Others are now suggesting keeping out Muslim refugees but offering shelter to Christians from same regions? Closing down mosques? Our relatively new Congressional House Speaker Paul Ryan joined in and said "we can't let terrorists take advantage of our compassion."
So, let me understand this line of thinking ... a white supremacist that murders innocent people like Dylann Roof doesn't represent all Whites and the KKK doesn't represent all Christians but a group of extremists represent all 1.9 billion Muslims (about 25 percent of the world's population)?
President George W. Bush didn't believe that. He said after the 9-11 attacks, "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace."
Now we have governors in 31 states - including Democrat New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan and my governor in Maryland - making it clear that refugees from Syria are not welcome. We also have the majority of Americans, 54 percent, opposing the taking in these refugees according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll. With hate crimes against Muslims in England since the Paris attacks 10 days ago shooting up by almost 275 percent, I'm holding my breath that the United States doesn't follow suit. After all, we are Americans.
Last year, with my American values firmly in place, I advocated for the Unaccompanied Minor refugees from Central America with other activists in the name of spirituality, moral responsibility and our role as a world leader. This is no different. We're in the midst of a refugee emergency we haven't seen the likes of since World War II. More than 250,000 Syrians have been killed since violence broke out in 2011 and over 4 million are the violence with another 6.5 million left homeless. The Obama administration had made plans to take in only 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, not the 250,000 that Donald Trump has irresponsibly been throwing out. And now, families in their most vulnerable state are being turned away because a message of fear is clouding our morality. That's what fear does.
The biggest fear is who is being let in. No one is more vetted entering our country than refugees, especially of the Muslim faith or from the Middle East. Each refugees is extensively investigated by multiple government agencies. The process is so thorough that it takes over two years before they set foot in the US. In addition, US officials actually decide which refugees are safe to resettle and often choose the most vulnerable including families with children.
There is history with refugees in our country that we need to correct this time around. In the thirties and forties, the US shut out European Jewish refugees by the thousands who were escaping Hitler's evil intentions. A few years later after WWII, President Harry Truman argued that the US had a moral obligation to allow a certain number of refugees and yet Congress still said no. It wasn't until 1948 that the Displaced Persons Act was passed which allowed over 200,000 Europeans to enter and the US had an official refugee policy. Since then we have taken people in from Europe, Africa, South East Asia, South and Central America, and the Middle East. Because we're American.
We need to see ourselves in these refugees in order to more strongly feel. Let's reconnect with our inner values as we start the Holiday Season and act like Americans.