Stand up to Terrorism

In the aftermath of last week’s horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, we have seen Americans rise up in support of the French people. The evil that is ISIS, the evil that is organized terror, is clear. Their attacks on innocents in France, their continued war on the population of Syria, their threats to countries across the world have brought governments and peoples together. We will not stand for these wanton acts of cowardice, no matter who we are.

But not everyone is willing to stand up to them. This week in the United States, several prominent individuals have been so terrorized by ISIS that they have given in. They have announced their refusal to stand up to the terrorists. They have declared their unwillingness to help those displaced by terror attacks.

To them, our country’s proud history of helping those who are most unfortunate, most needy, those whose whole lives have been upended by terror, that history is too bold, too courageous, too compassionate.

Instead, they are afraid. Unwilling to take in the destitute, the homeless, the war-torn, because they are afraid that those terrorists will come for them next. They have given in to the terror.

Among those people is our Governor, Sam Brownback. He has declared that Kansas will refuse assistance to any refugees from Syria, ostensibly to protect us from terrorism. He is afraid for what might happen. Perhaps we can soothe his fears with some facts.

According to the UNHCR, since the war in Syria broke out in 2011, four million Syrians have fled their country. Another seven and a half million remain in Syria, but have been displaced from their homes. In the past year, the United States has admitted about 2,000 individuals. Here is the math: we have taken 0.05% of Syrian refugees who have fled their country, 0.02% of those affected by ISIS.

The process for entering the United States as a refugee is an arduous one. It can take over a year of processing, during which time they remain overseas, in refugee camps. Syrians face even stronger scrutiny. The individuals we have allowed in are overwhelmingly children. Only 2%, according to US sources, are men of “fighting age.”

But since 9/11, the United States has admitted 750,000 refugees into the country. None of them have been convicted of terrorism. In fact, only two have been charged with terrorism related crimes, and they for aiding Al-Qaeda abroad, not for planning terrorism at home. Again, the math: that is 0.00003% of refugees in the last fifteen years.

But it should not require these facts to convince any of us what the right course of action should be. These refugees are fleeing the terrorists, too. Their homes have been bombed, their relatives killed. Their cities have been visited by terror on a daily basis. Would we not take French citizens who sought refuge from this last week’s tragedies? Would we turn them down because all but one of the terrorists involved were also French citizens?

Of course not. That’s ridiculous. As is the Governor’s naked refusal to give his Christian help when it is needed.

Tell the voters to be fearful, and they will do as you instruct. This is the playbook of extremists. This is how people are turned from their better natures. This is how terror wins.

Stand up to these tactics. Speak out for those seeking refuge. Run towards those who need help. Or we have already lost.

If you would like to assist in the efforts to help refugees, here are some resources. Remember, do more than vote.

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