This evening, several venues in Paris were attacked by what at first appeared to be a cell of Islamic extremists that might or might not have been affiliated with ISIL. Nobody knows yet. All that is known is that over 150 people are dead after at least five heavily armed, black-clad men suddenly yelled "Allahu akbar" (God is great) and opened fire.
As the journalists, commentators, and experts discuss what happened and what the reason might be for this senseless tragedy, a great many people on social media are saying that Western countries should reconsider taking in refugees from Syria because of possible ISIL infiltrators.
Just a moment here. Is it really the proper time to bring up that subject? And are people really so frightened that they are willing to turn away thousands on the slim chance that a few might cause trouble? Look, if ISIL really wanted to secretly infiltrate a country, they would have done so already. Not to mention there are an unknown number of potential "homegrown terrorists" who haven't acted yet. Being afraid of the mere possibility serves no purpose. All that does is create more fear and anger toward immigrants, Muslims in particular.
Some people have called me naive for expressing this viewpoint. Others have said that my response is a typical liberal choice to only discuss lightning rod issues when it serves a liberal narrative.
The Syrian refugees are fleeing war. They've lost their homes, and in many cases their loved ones, to terrorists. They want to stay in their country but they simply can't. Right now the closest place for them to go is Europe, which is rapidly being overwhelmed. The U.S. and Canada are big places with good opportunities, so it makes sense to invite some of them here.
"But we already have unsustainable immigration!" some people are shouting. "A few bad apples spoil the bunch!"
You know the 1939 invasion of Poland by Germany and Russia, the one that started World War II? Something similar happened. Only many other countries closed their borders to refugees, specifically to those who were Jewish. Millions of people died. Do you really want that to happen again?
Don't tell me "This isn't the same thing". It all boils down to fear. And unreasonable fear at that.
I have a friend who is Muslim. She wears a hijab and believes in the Prophet's teachings. She has been called names, had water thrown at her, and worse. And yet she's one of the kindest and most soft-spoken people I know; all she wants is to live peacefully. By all reports so far, the people from Syria simply want the same.
Those other people who put on flak vests and pick up guns in order to kill innocents are not true Muslims. Period. Learn to tell the difference.