Starting with the over 150 killed and with scores injured in the Paris attacks, refugees have come under fire by the international community. Seeing that one of the attackers came to France from Syria, calls started to impugn the millions of Syrian refugees as potential terrorists.
Since then, certain countries like the United States have taken steps to ban refugees from entering their country, most notably from Syria. While a certain amount of common-sense skepticism is warranted, Syrian and other refugees should not be feared or demonized. After all, we are dealing here with hundreds of thousands of refugees as opposed to possibly a couple of dozen terrorist infiltrators.
Last year, I Am Syria launched Stand 4 Syrian Refugees. This was an article series written by people who work directly with refugees or are a refugees themselves. The successful series was designed to bring a perspective to the masses that was accurate, fair, and enlightening. This year, we are doing it again with new articles! We bring this to you to provide new perspectives, and new takes on the rhetoric surrounding refugee's today.
Why Should We Help Syrian Refugees?
Refugees Are Not Immigrants
Ammar Abdulhamid is a liberal Syrian pro-democracy activist whose anti-regime activities led to his exile in September of 2005. He currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Khawla Yusuf, and their children, Oula (b.1986) and Mouhanad (b. 1990). He is the founder of theTharwa Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to democracy promotion. His personal website and entries from his older blogs can be accessed here.
As a Syrian asylee who found a safe haven in this country long before the revolutionary upheavals, and as a person whose life experiences took him from being a young radical Imam to an agnostic author and prodemocracy activist who strongly embraces secular values and advocates the right to heresy, he thought it incumbent upon him at this stage to contribute to the ongoing debating regarding Syrian refugees: who they are, what they want, and what can they bring with them by way of contributions.
Do Refugee Fears Actually Keep Us Safe?
Melody LeBeau is the Program Director and one of the co-founders for I Am Syria, where she plays a key role administering its webpage and Social Media outreach, including its Seven Days for Syria, Twitter Campaign, and partnerships with film companies to help feature Syrian documentaries in the US.
LeBeau has worked in human rights activism since college, where she started working with the Summer Institute For Human Rights and Genocide Studies. LeBeau has recently co-authored an article in the Huffington Post, spreading awareness about the Syrian conflict and I Am Syria.