by Mac Olsen
You can’t help but feel empathy for the Syrian refugees fleeing the barbarity of terrorist groups like ISIS.
This is especially the case for the family of a boy who drowned while trying to reach Europe by boat last summer.
However, the issue of whether to allow Syrian refugees into places like Europe and the United States has become politically charged in recent months. Some countries in Europe are doing everything they can to thwart them from entering, which includes putting up barricades at their borders.
And if U.S. media reports and social media are to be believed, there are some states that won’t be willing to take them either, despite President Barack Obama’s insistence that they will be accepted.
So what about Canada and, in particular, Alberta? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Rachel Notley have made it clear that they want to welcome Syrian refugees. Premier Notley has said so publicly.
“We need to do our part,” she said in an Edmonton Journal article on Nov. 16. “We need to do it safely. We need to keep the safety of Canadian and Alberta families in perspective, but we need to balance that very clearly against the fact that we are an open society and one that is going to reach out to people in need.”
She has suggested that Alberta could accommodate as many as 3,000 refugees.
Yes, Alberta should welcome them – but caution has to be exercised. I don’t advocate this out of a sense of fear, but due to recent events in other parts of the world.
The images of the terrorist attacks in Beirut on Nov. 12, and in Paris on Nov. 13, are a reminder that ISIS and other terrorist groups continue to make their heinous presence felt.
It’s not unrealistic to assume that they could and would disguise themselves as refugees and enter Canada – including Alberta – to carry out their uncivilized conduct.
Granted, there’s no full proof method of keeping terrorists out of Canada. But every resource must be used to ensure those refugees coming here are vetted as thoroughly as possible.
On the other hand, those who would vehemently deny the right of refugees to come to Canada or any other Western country are moral cowards, often peddling hate and fear of people they don’t understand. I’ve seen a lot of anti-Muslim rhetoric on social media, especially over the Syrian refugee situation. But I don’t condone this; it’s horrendous and misguided.
Yes, I detest ISIS and other terrorist groups, and I think they should be ground under, even obliterated. But I don’t associate all Muslims with these terrorist groups, including the refugees who are trying to escape from them. It’s simply wrong and immoral to do that.
Canada and Alberta should be welcoming and open-minded to the plight of the untold numbers of Syrian refugees, who are simply trying to escape the tyrrany and genocide they are enduring. Just exercise caution and screen them thoroughly, to reduce the risk of terrorist infiltrations.