Syrian Refugee Crisis: Christians, Security and Compassion [video]

Craig HueyInternational, Religious Liberties & The Persecuted ChurchLeave a Comment

Jihad in Paris... Jihad in San Bernardino... This is only the beginning of the war between radical Islam and Western civilization.

And yet, President Obama has remained committed to accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees this year.

The concern about admitting terrorists in with the refugees has led 31 U.S. governors (30 Republican, 1 Democrat) to say that they will not accept refugees in their states under current vetting procedures.

Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana put his words into action when he refused to let a Syrian refugee family into Indiana. Here he defends this decision:

President Obama has threatened the states if they do not comply with the refugee program in place.

However, the House passed a bipartisan bill to increase security checks for refugees. This bill would severely limit the number of refugees that could be admitted because the FBI director and other top officials would have to personally attest that each individual was properly vetted.

Obama has promised to veto this bill if it passes the Senate, but the House was only one vote short of the number necessary to override a veto.

Denial or Delusion?

Congressman Seth Moulton agrees with Obama that we should not increase the vetting of Middle Eastern refugees. Along with Obama, he insists that the vetting process we have in place is adequate.

Watch this tense exchange with Rep. Moulton (D) on whether we should pause the inflow of Syrian refugees:

The most ridiculous argument made by liberals – including both Obama and Rep. Moulton – is that calling for increased vetting due to security concerns will contribute to terrorism by influencing people to become radicalized. In other words, heightening security in the vetting process and prioritizing the most vulnerable refugees will encourage ordinary Americans to become radical terrorists.

President Obama continues to dismiss very real and legitimate concerns that radical Muslims will pose as refugees and enter the U.S.

But the Paris attack was a wake-up call. One of the terrorists was found with a Syrian passport and is believed to have entered as a refugee.

Almost 70 people have been arrested in America for supporting ISIS, including several who came in as refugees.

The terrorists responsible for the Boston marathon bombing came in as refugees.

Obama insists that the vetting process in place is adequate – but his own top officials have testified that it is currently impossible to properly vet thousands of Syrian refugees.

FBI Director James Comey, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and many other top officials admitted that we cannot adequately screen the refugees and have predicted that ISIS will use the refugee program to infiltrate our nation with jihadists.

Watch this powerful interview with Sen. Marco Rubio on the refugee crisis:

Rubio highlights why the current vetting process is inadequate, despite many claims otherwise: Syria does not have reliable databases and cannot provide reliable documents. We cannot do meaningful background checks on thousands of refugees from an unstable region.

Here is an interview with Sen. Rand Paul on the security threat in admitting refugees:

Security vs. Compassion

The refugee crisis puts us in a tough dilemma. Conservative Christians are in a particularly complicated position, having always prioritized national security but also burdened for persecuted Christians and refugees from the Middle East.

The Lord commands us to extend compassion to the refugee: “[The Lord] defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”

Are security and compassion mutually exclusive in the times we live in? Christians must think carefully about how our nation can best protect its own people’s safety and yet most effectively extend compassion to refugees as well. We must be leaders in approaching this situation with compassion, humility, thoughtfulness, and care for national security interests.

Presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz have proposed that the U.S. accept only proven Christians as refugees, due to 3 factors:

1. Christian refugees are constantly in danger of death and have no adequate refuge in the Middle East, as they are targeted and persecuted by ISIS throughout the region. Christians cannot even stay in U.N. refugee camps because ISIS militants enter the camps disguised as refugees, then they kidnap and kill Christians. While there are many areas that Muslim Syrians can be resettled (Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.) – nowhere are Christians safe.

2. There is no possible way to screen thousands of refugees from an unstable region, and the best way to practice compassion while protecting national security is to prioritize the most vulnerable for screening and resettlement. As Sen. Rubio pointed out, these refugees are from an unstable region, where documents are often forged and there are no reliable databases. Adequately screening thousands is impossible.

3. Unfortunately, Muslims are a suspect class, and excluding them from our refugee program is a national security precaution. This of course is not to say that all Muslims pose a threat to America. But we live in a time of war with radical Islam. In times like these, extra security measures must be taken. The rise of radical Islam is pervasive, and it is extremely difficult to screen out the jihadists or jihadi sympathizers (a shockingly large proportion of Muslims). We have to be more careful when we exercise compassion, especially in light of the recent terror attacks. Accepting Muslim refugees without adequate screening will very likely mean “importing terrorism,” as Gov. Mike Huckabee puts it.

Thoughtful Compassion – Priorities and Limitations

America should have compassion on the Syrian refugees – but must carefully seek to have compassion without compromising our national security.

National security must be the priority in this difficult and tragic situation, even if it severely limits the number of refugees we can accept.

It is the government’s job, first and foremost, to protect its people. Then it can seek to provide refuge and aid as effectively as possible.

But we also must strategize as to how we can best have compassion on Syrian refugees. While that includes a temporary solution of providing refuge and aid to the extent that we can, the most compassionate thing we can do is defeat radical Islam and help the refugees get back home.

More than damage control, compassion means defeating the root of the problem. America needs to be a leader again. We need to put an end to ISIS’ spread of jihad and terrorism around the world.

Finally, while national security is the priority for government, compassion and humanitarian aid should be privately provided. We shouldn’t depend on the government to do this work for us. There are many non-profit organizations that provide humanitarian aid and advocate for persecuted refugees in the process of resettlement. We shouldn’t expect the government to be Christ’s hands and feet, that is what the Church does.

The Church must step up and provide this aid, especially to persecuted Christians who have no safe haven. Tragically, many groups that exist to aid refugees are neglecting Christians, who are one of the most persecuted groups in Syria. Many of these “Christian groups” are recruited by “Voluntary Agencies” that work with the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement. The problem is that these groups profit from every refugee that is resettled here in the U.S.: Groups such as the Church World Service, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and World Relief are estimated to receive over $4,000 in federal grants for each resettled refugee.

One of the reasons Christians are excluded in this push to resettle so many refugees is that they’re harder to help – in fact they often aren’t included in the application process for asylum because they have to be in U.N. refugee camps to do so. As mentioned before, Christians avoid U.N. refugee camps because they are in danger of persecution there.

If we are truly compassionate, we will prioritize processing those refugees who are most persecuted and in constant danger of death or trafficking, which includes Christians and other religious minorities.

Obama’s Hypocrisy

While Obama claims to represent compassion and slams all his opponents for lacking compassion, he takes no responsibility for his failure in foreign policy.

If he had demonstrated American leadership earlier, these people would not have become refugees.

President Obama offers no plan or strategy to combat the real problem underlying the refugee crisis: radical Islamic terrorists and regimes, which are responsible for the murder and displacement of so many and continue to be a growing threat.

Obama and Clinton claim that Muslims are peaceful and have nothing to do with terrorism. They ignore the huge movement of radical Islam and – in addition to radical jihadists who would actually commit acts of terror – the growing amount of jihadi sympathizers. One shocking example of this growing number of sympathizers occurred at the recent soccer game between Greece and Turkey: When there was a moment of silence to recognize the Paris attacks, the Muslim audience booed and chanted “Allahu akbar.”

Supposing we did have a reliable vetting process that could screen out jihadi terrorists, there is still an overwhelming number of jihadi sympathizers – even harder to identify – who could become radicalized after entering the U.S. “Homegrown terrorism” is a major national security threat – especially since ISIS has been so successful at radicalizing Muslims and others to join their cause.

What’s more, Muslims are indoctrinated with anti-Semitism. Thousands of Muslim immigrants can pose a real threat to our Jewish population. They are taught to hate Jews, and even to be violent towards them.

We need to focus on the underlying problem, the common threat to Western nations and Middle Eastern refugees: the rise of radical Islam. The first thing we must do –in the interest of both compassion and national security – is strategize to defeat ISIS.

Prioritize the Most Vulnerable

President Obama has said that it is un-American to impose a religious test on refugees – to say that only Christians should be admitted.

But President Obama is wrong – American law requires that we use a religious test to determine whether a group counts as refugees (as opposed to mere immigrants). The State Department’s website outlines our refugee policy:

“Under U.S. law, a refugee must have a well-founded fear of persecution based on one of the five ‘protected grounds’: Religion, Political opinion, Race, Nationality, Membership in a particular social group.”

Only if a group of people is in immediate danger based on one of these grounds are they considered refugees who should be given asylum. These 5 protected grounds are the primary causes of persecution.

And, this policy is well established by precedence: from our policy regarding Soviet Jews, to Catholics from Vietnam, to persecuted Christians and Jews in Iran.

The Syrian refugees at highest risk of being murdered by ISIS are Christians and Yazidis. ISIS is perpetrating genocide against them because of their religion, as is the case with many genocides.

But our current processing of Syrian refugees is excluding those who are most vulnerable. Many more Syrian Muslims are being accepted to the U.S. than Syrian Christians. Out of the 2,184 Syrian refugees that have been admitted to the U.S. so far, 2,098 of them are Muslims and only 53 are Christians. Our refusal to prioritize those who are targeted for genocide by ISIS is leaving the most vulnerable Syrians without help and without refuge.

It is Christians who are being specifically targeted and murdered. Muslim refugees have many options for resettlement in the Middle East. But Christians and Yazidis have no adequate refuge in the region.

We need to use the religious test in order to discern who is most vulnerable and at risk and ought to be prioritized in our refugee policy.

Religious Profiling

Obama and liberals act as if religion has no rational relation to security risks, as if allowing Christina refugees and not Muslims is an act of arbitrary bias. But Ted Cruz calls out this willful ignorance of reality:

“There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror. If there were a group of radical Christians pledging to murder anyone who had a different religious view than they, we would have a different national security situation.”

As Rand Paul says, we should profile not based on religion but based on suspicion. Unfortunately, the huge movement of radical Islam has now made Muslims suspect. Muslims must be more highly scrutinized (at the very least) in order to determine who is a jihadi sympathizer and who is not.

The threat of ISIS using the refugee crisis to infiltrate our nation is real. This is not just a matter of compassion; it is also a very grave matter of national security. We can find ways to compassionately aid persecuted Syrians and those seeking refuge, but we must not compromise our national security in doing so.

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