The global refugee crisis is a moral test for all of us

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Migrants are welcomed as they arrive at the main railway station in Dortmund, Germany on September 6, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Ina Fassbender
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-EUROPE-REFUGEES, originally transmitted on September 9, 2015.

Migrants are welcomed as they arrive at the main railway station in Dortmund, Germany on September 6, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Ina Fassbender *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-EUROPE-REFUGEES, originally transmitted on September 9, 2015.

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Nobody can make a nation recognize the human dignity and rights of refugees. That makes it a very stern moral test for all of us.

  • Larry

    For future comments, please do not confuse refugees with illegal aliens

    Once declared refugees, they get work authorization and a path to citizenship. In order to be declared a refugee one has to be ruled in “Demonstrates that they were persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group”
    http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/refugees

    The closest US historical analogue would be the Vietnamese “boat people” or Cubans who fled Castro.

  • caroline

    Refugees don’t arrive at the border with their government papers preprocessed. Hence it is easy to label them an illegal immigration problem instead of a humanitarian crisis. We did it in the states last summer with the refugees from central america. Screamed at bus loads of children to go home and talked about building a wall lined with automatic weaponry. Getting bogged down in the legal difference between refugee and illegal immigrant misses the point bc people running for their lives with nothing but the shoes on their feet don’t show up with papers. And how we treat them shouldn’t depend on their papers.

  • Larry

    The public branded them illegal aliens, but USCIS did not. I agree with your statement.

    Nativism is very ugly and largely based on ignoring facts. It is one of the few political positions wholly dependent on having no actual knowledge of the laws they talk about enforcing or strengthening. I have yet to see immigration officials or immigration lawyers (people who work the system intimately) support this kind of hysteria.

  • Jack

    The whole premise of Gushee’s article, that no western nation besides Germany cares about refugees, is false, especially when it pertains to the United States.

    You can always make a case that we should bring in more refugees. I agree with such a case. I believe we can and should bring in more.

    But to put the US into the same category as other democracies which have done little for refugees is ignorant or disingenuous.

    Moreover, it’s a cheap, lazy way for Gushee to engage in his usual moral preening before onlookers and then imply how brave he is.

    It would take a lot more bravery for Gushee to ask the really tough question, which is what we should do about the dictators & terrorists who are triggering the refugee crisis in the first place.

    And it would take far more courage for Gushee to break with the left-wing elites he worships and state the obvious — the only truly humanitarian answer is cleansing the earth of the despots & terrorists.

  • Jack

    The “moral test,” Mr. Gushee, is whether the next president will take out the dictators and tyrants causing the refugee crisis. That’s a genuine moral test, because everybody in the world will be screaming “Iraq” and “Vietnam” at him or her at the mere mention of serious military action.

  • Larry

    Germany has taken in almost 20 times the number of refugees that the US has. More than any other EU nation.

    Compare our involvement with Syrian refugees now with the Vietnamese “boat people” of the late 70’s. We took in over 400K people from that. We are taking in a pittance compared to how much we could be doing here.

    In fact much of the resistance to taking them in has been based on hysteria and outright prejudice (Ted Cruz stated we should only accept Christian refugees).
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2015/09/11/cruz-sorry-syrians-youre-the-wrong-kind-of-refugee/?ref_widget=trending&ref_blog=friendlyatheist&ref_post=you-can-check-out-an-atheist-at-this-human-library

    We could be doing more and should be.

    “which is what we should do about the dictators & terrorists who are triggering the refugee crisis in the first place.”

    I would love to see the US make efforts to take out Assad and ISIS. I would love to see the Kurds fully supported by US efforts.

  • Larry

    But that is not going to happen.

    Neither right nor left wing have the stomach to plan it.

    Until we get out of Afghanistan, “boots on the ground” for a new venture in getting involved in an 5-way civil war are hard to come by.

    We are a bit reluctant to keep military bases in Iraq again.

    All of Syria’s neighbors (including Israel) do not want our presence in the area.

    At best we will be able to support proxies like the Kurds with supplies and airstrikes.

  • Larry

    But that is not going to happen.

    Neither right nor left wing have the stomach to plan it.

    Until we get out of Afghanistan, “boots on the ground” for a new venture in getting involved in an 5-way civil war are hard to come by.

    We are a bit reluctant to keep military bases in Iraq again.

    All of Syria’s neighbors (including Israel) do not want our presence in the area.

    At best we will be able to support proxies like the Kurds with supplies and airstrikes.

  • Jack

    Unfortunately, Larry, you are correct on the extent of opposition to military intervention. It is intense.

  • Bernardo

    Bottom line: They are Muslims who believe their koran takes precedence over any country’s laws. With that in mind, these refugees should not be allowed in our country. There is plenty of room and money in the koranic states of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Where were the plans for 9/11 hatched? Germany!!! Expect more of the same.

  • Jack

    Bernardo, don’t stereotype. Most Muslims are not Islamists and that is especially true of Muslims who settle in America.

    Of course we must vet people who come here, but we have the resources for that.

    Again, we have to counter the extremes — the far right which thinks all Muslims are terrorists or terror sympathizers and the far left which thinks that anyone who warns against radical Islamism is anti-Islam and a bigot.

  • Larry

    “the far left which thinks that anyone who warns against radical Islamism is anti-Islam and a bigot.”

    When “warnings” involve deliberately antagonizing law abiding residents of the US and openly opposing their right of worship, its a fair assessment. Too much rhetoric is just demonizing a religion for its own sake. As Bernardo has done. There is never going to be a valid argument in this country that the rights of others should be curtained because a given religion is somehow evil.

  • Bernardo

    Somewhat evil?

    Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

    Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.”

    And please no “out of context” excuses. Imams and Muslim terrorists don’t follow these excuses but follow the literal word of their Koran.

    August 9, 2010 Germany shuts 9/11 plotters’ mosque in Hamburg

    Police raided the mosque on Monday and hunted for evidence of jihadist activities German police have shut down the Hamburg mosque where the 9/11 hijackers met before their suicide attacks on the US in 2001.”
    Police said they believed the Taiba mosque was again being used as a meeting point for extremists.
    The cultural…

  • Larry

    When we start playing this game all sorts of sectarian biases come out. Every bigot claims their ideas are rational and well supported. They are not. Every faith has points about them which are anti-social in nature. Demonizing an entire religion of 1.2 billion people can’t be anything short of gross stereotyping and hysteria.

    “And please no “out of context” excuses.”

    Because its obviously true? I can see why it is annoying to your screed.

    I can rattle off a list of extremists of all faiths, nationality, race and political inclinations. What does it say for the rank and file of a given group? Absolutely nothing.

    I am not going to pretend you are capable of speaking for the beliefs and actions of the entire group.

    The American Muslim population is one of the most democratized and upwardly mobile in the developed world. Far better off than their European counterparts. Deerborn MI, Downtown Brooklyn, Tehrangeles and Northern NJ are downright sedate neighborhoods.

  • Bernardo

    Larry,

    You noted:

    “The American Muslim population is one of the most democratized and upwardly mobile in the developed world.”

    You must be kidding or have you forgotten about the Ft. Hood and Boston Marathon massacres?

    Or this?

    A Muslim strategist in Beverly Hills, California, declared several years ago, as quoted by a friend of mine: “Now that the struggle between Western democracies and international communism is winding down, it is time for the real and final struggle to begin, and we are going to win!”

    Don Richardson

    And the koranic passages so cited mean nothing to you????

  • Larry

    As I said, incidents by extremists say nothing of an entire community or even an entire faith. Do you hold Dylann Roof as an example of all white trash? Colin Ferguson for all African Americans? Of course you would, if you had the convictions to take your statements to their logical conclusion.

    Have you even seen an actual American muslim community?

    I live in one of the highest concentrations of American Muslims in the East Coast. They are upwardly mobile mostly middle class safe neighborhoods. (As opposed to European ghettos).

    “A Muslim strategist …as quoted by a friend of mine”

    …means absolutely nothing except as hearsay nonsense.

    “And the koranic passages so cited mean nothing to you????”

    Nope. Neither do Bible passages when fundies pretend its a form of argument. Scripture dumps are for the lazy.

    Are you done trying to pretend the 1st Amendment should have the addendum “except Muslims”?