CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

On the Syrian Refugees

Sep 7, 2015

There are always certain issues, especially when clouded with emotive media imagery, which can result in people ceasing to reflect critically but simply run on emotions. The refugee issue is one such topic where emoting instead of thinking tends to predominate.

This has certainly been the case with the tragic Syrian refugee problem, with many saying we must do something, and we must do it now. Well, critical reflection is actually preferable to knee-jerk reactions, lest we simply make things far worse.

syria 5People are complaining that Europe, Australia and other places must simply take in far more refugees, no matter what. But a few facts and bits of evidence need to be considered here, instead of simply running on feelings. Let me offer a number of such facts.

Tony Abbott has just announced that he will take in more Syrian refugees. And according to a recent United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report on resettlement, Australia is among the world leaders in helping such refugees: www.unhcr.org/543408c4fda.pdf

As I have written elsewhere, no nation can have open slather policies here, and each nation has a right to defend its borders and determine what is a feasible number of refugees or asylum seekers that can be accepted. I discuss in greater detail the political as well as biblical data on this here: billmuehlenberg.com/2010/11/09/christians-and-asylum-seekers/

And when it comes to Muslim immigration, we must be even wiser, as the spread of political Islam and creeping sharia is often accomplished by means of immigration. Please read this for more detail: billmuehlenberg.com/2009/08/27/western-immigration-and-global-jihad/

For example, the BBC reports that fake passports are already being used to get jihadists into Europe: “German customs officers have seized packages containing Syrian passports and police suspect they are being sold illegally to asylum seekers. A finance ministry official said both genuine and forged passports were in the packets intercepted in the post.”

And IS has threatened to send 500,000 migrants to Europe as part of jihad:

ISIS has threatened to flood Europe with half a million migrants from Libya in a ‘psychological’ attack against the West, it was claimed today. Transcripts of telephone intercepts published in Italy claim to provide evidence that ISIS is threatening to send 500,000 migrants simultaneously out to sea in hundreds of boats in a ‘psychological weapon’ against Europe if there is military intervention against them in Libya.
Many would be at risk of drowning with rescue services unable to cope. But authorities fear that if numbers on this scale arrived, European cities could witness riots. Separately, the militants hope to cement their control of Libya then cross the Mediterranean disguised as refugees, according to letters seen by Quilliam the anti-terror group, reported by the Telegraph.

Or as another report warns:

ISIS says thousands of fighters are already in place in Europe, disguised as refugees, just waiting for the signal. An operative working for Islamic State has revealed that the terror group has successfully smuggled thousands of covert Jihadists into Europe, the Express writes.
The Syrian operative claimed more than 4,000 covert ISIS gunmen had been smuggled into western nations – hidden amongst innocent refugees. The ISIS smuggler, who is in his 30s with a trimmed jet-black beard, revealed the ongoing clandestine operation is a complete success. “Just wait,” he smiled.

We must also ask why most rich Muslim nations are refusing to take in these refugees. Perhaps they know something we don’t: “Five of the wealthiest Muslim countries have taken no Syrian refugees in at all, arguing that doing so would open them up to the risk of terrorism. Although the oil rich countries have handed over aid money, Britain has donated more than Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar combined.”

Imagine that: Muslim nations admitting that Muslim refugees pose a genuine terrorist threat. Yet the West is supposed to throw its doors wide open with no questions asked. That is a recipe for national suicide. Nonie Darwish, who has had to flee the Middle East herself, says this about “why Muslim countries rarely prepare for disaster to save lives of other Muslims and heavily rely on the West to rescue victims of Islamic jihad”:

-Muslim countries know that the West will take care of their mistakes so they don’t have to avoid the negative consequences of their actions.
-Western countries quickly come to the rescue, open their wallets and land to prove to the world that they are not Islamophobes.
-Arab countries lack compassion and action to rescue each other despite the rhetoric of Arab/Islamic unity. Saudi Arabia and Gulf nations never open their borders to poor Muslims in distress. Even Egypt rejected the Darfur refugees who were later forced to go to Israel, which took them.
-Oil rich Arab countries make it very difficult for other Arabs to visit except for haj. They are very tribal and refuse to dilute their culture with influx of foreigners. Third world country workers are treated inhumanely and are rarely given permanent residency, citizenship or equal rights as citizens.
-Arabs would rather spend their petrodollars on expanding their influence in the West rather than making life better for their own citizens or supporting other Muslim nations who are financially less fortunate.
-Islamic groups believe that refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan will spread Sharia in Europe, which is the main goal of jihad.
-By clearing the area from the opposition and citizens who are not contributing to the empowerment of ISIS, clears the way for ISIS to expand beyond Syria and Iraq. Europe and America are absorbing the opposition to ISIS, so why stand in the way?

Emotive images, like that of the poor dead boy lying on the beach, are relied upon to pull Western heartstrings, instead of having them think critically and rationally. As to the tragic case of the boy and his family, they of course had been living comfortably in free housing in Turkey for three years.

As one commentator writes, “Aylan was not in ‘harm’s way’. He was not a refugee. His family was not fleeing danger. Indeed, what his father particularly sought in Europe was a good dentist. Yes, Aylan’s terrible death does not tell us to open our borders. If anything, it warns us to be wary of the consequences of badly directed ‘compassion’.”

And as mentioned, humanitarian concerns must be balanced with national security concerns. The Prime Minister of Hungry has rightly argued that “Those who are overwhelmed cannot offer shelter to anyone”. His entire speech is well worth reading: www.kormany.hu/en/the-prime-minister/the-prime-minister-s-speeches/those-who-are-overwhelmed-cannot-offer-shelter-to-anyone

English commentator Peter Hitchens offers some sober thinking on all this. He is worth quoting at length:

Having seen more than my share of real corpses, and watched children starving to death in a Somali famine, I am not unmoved by pictures of a dead child on a Turkish beach. But I am not going to pretend to be more upset than anyone else. Nor am I going to suddenly stop thinking, as so many people in the media and politics appear to have done.
The child is not dead because advanced countries have immigration laws. The child is dead because criminal traffickers cynically risked the lives of their victims in pursuit of money. I’ll go further. The use of words such as ‘desperate’ is quite wrong in this case. The child’s family were safe in Turkey. Turkey (for all its many faults) is a member of Nato, officially classified as free and democratic. Many British people actually pay good money to go on holiday to the very beach where the child’s body was washed up.
It may not be ideal, but the definition of a refugee is that he is fleeing from danger, not fleeing towards a higher standard of living. Goodness knows I have done what I could on this page to oppose the stupid interventions by this country in Iraq, Libya and Syria, which have turned so many innocent people into refugees or corpses.
But I can see neither sense nor justice in allowing these things to become a pretext for an unstoppable demographic revolution in which Europe (including, alas, our islands) merges its culture and its economy with North Africa and the Middle East. If we let this happen, Europe would lose almost all the things that make others want to live there.
You really think these crowds of tough young men chanting ‘Germany!’ in the heart of Budapest are ‘asylum-seekers’ or ‘refugees’? Refugees don’t confront the police of the countries in which they seek sanctuary. They don’t chant orchestrated slogans or lie across the train tracks. And why, by the way, do they use the English name for Germany when they chant? In Arabic and Turkish, that country is called ‘Almanya’, in Kurdish something similar. The Germans themselves call it ‘Deutschland’. In Hungarian, it’s ‘Nemetorszag’.
Did someone hope that British and American TV would be there? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: spontaneous demonstrations take a lot of organising. Refugees don’t demand or choose their refuge. They ask and they hope. When we become refugees one day (as we may well do), we will discover this.
As to what those angry, confident and forceful young men actually are, I’ll leave you to work it out, as I am too afraid of the Thought Police to use what I think is the correct word. But it is interesting that this week sees the publication in English of a rather dangerous book, which came out in France just before the Charlie Hebdo murders.
Submission, by Michel Houellebecq, prophesies a Muslim-dominated government in France about seven years from now, ushered into power by the French Tory and Labour parties. What they want, says one of the cleverer characters in the book, ‘is for France to disappear – to be integrated into a European federation’. This means they’d much rather do a deal with a Muslim party than with the National Front, France’s Ukip equivalent. If any of this sounds familiar to you, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s amazing how likely and simple the author makes this Islamic revolution sound.
Can we stop this transformation of all we have and are? I doubt it. To do so would involve the grim-faced determination of Australia, making it plain in every way that our doors are open only to limited numbers of people, chosen by us, enduring the righteous scorn of the supposedly enlightened.
As we lack the survival instinct and the determination necessary, and as so many of our most influential people are set on committing a sentimental national suicide, I suspect we won’t.
To those who condemn reasonable calls for national self-defence as bigotry, hatred and intolerance (which they are not), I make only this request: just don’t pretend you’re doing a good and generous thing, when you’re really cowardly and weak.

As I said, emotional reactions are clearly not what we should rely upon when considering important international issues such as this. Clear thinking and critical evaluation of the evidence and the facts is what is required. And that seems to be in short supply in so much of the West today.

I close with the words of Paul Zanetti:

If there’s any one underlying message that must be read into the story of little Alyan it is that illegal human trafficking must be stopped, that the Abbott government’s successful policies must be widely adopted or the drownings will continue.
This must be balanced with an increased selective intake by all nations of genuine refugees, fleeing persecution or war or both. Australia has a proud history of settling refugees and migrants. This must continue.
Migration has been an overwhelmingly positive contributor to the growth, success and affluence of this nation – with exception, namely criminal ideologists who wish us harm, currently being addressed. Careful, selective immigration and genuine refugee intakes – not open border anarchy – will strengthen Australia and save lives while meeting our international obligations.

www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34150408
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2958517/The-Mediterranean-sea-chaos-Gaddafi-s-chilling-prophecy-interview-ISIS-threatens-send-500-000-migrants-Europe-psychological-weapon-bombed.html
speisa.com/modules/articles/index.php/item.1872/just-wait.html
www.breitbart.com/london/2015/09/05/gulf-states-refuse-to-take-a-single-syrian-refugee-say-doing-so-exposes-them-to-risk-of-terrorism/
www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/260025/why-did-oil-rich-arab-countries-abandon-muslim-nonie-darwish#.VewQFSyVveo.facebook
themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/family-of-drowned-toddler-aylan-kurdi-had-been-given-free-housing-in-turkey-while-fathers-story-is-full-of-holes/
www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/syrian-refugee-crisis-tragic-boy-aylan-kurdi-needs-more-than-tears/story-fni0ffxg-1227515266729
www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3223828/PETER-HITCHENS-won-t-save-refugees-destroying-country.html
pickeringpost.com/story/truth-another-refugee-of-war/5341

[1983 words]

23 Responses to On the Syrian Refugees

  • Well said, Bill. I wish that more people would think with their heads and not their hearts on this issue. The balance seems to be slightly wrong at the moment.

  • Thanks Bill for your wise response to questions many are asking. As you would know, there are a lot of knee jerk reactions to this shocking refugee crisis which, if implemented, could prove deadly to western nations and only exacerbate the overall problem. Of course IS will use their evil cunning to infiltrate nations with terrorists disguised as refugees. This is completely consistent with their jihadist strategy. As Jesus once said, we need to be “as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.”

  • I’ve been reading about this issue for the past month and agree with what you have written. I wish people could see the truth before it is too late. A few mainstream news outlets are reporting that all is not as it seems here! http://www.news.com.au/world/europe/refugee-crisis-in-europe-something-fishy-among-migrant-flood-as-discarded-id-papers-appear/story-fnh81p7g-1227515922792

    and
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/migrant-crisis-pakistanis-others-dumping-ids-to-become-syrian-20150906-gjggcn.html

  • Thank you Bill for the well researched and sensible comments I have ever read on this problem. All we have heard from the MSM is emotive claptrap.

    Sadly the Holy Father seems to have jumped on the bandwagon. As a Catholic I have thought more than once that he is being badly advised by someone in the Vatican.

    I was also flabbergasted when I heard the the Greens leader say yesterday on the Bolt Report that ISIS wasn’t the main problem in Syria, the Assad regime was worse, but facts show that Syrian Christians in particular believe that he is the lesser of the two evils.

    It is also significant when none of the Muslim dominated Gulf states will take these so called ‘refugees’ in because of the fear of terrorism.

  • Another good article.
    “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but the appalling silence and indifference of the good people. Our generation will have to repent not only for the words and acts of the children of darkness, but also for the fears and apathy of the children of light”. M.L. King
    I fear that just as the OT tells us what happened to the chosen people when they no longer cherished their relationship with the Lord, we may be witnessing the same thing in Europe. We have been warned over and over again and authentic believers must know that He will not be mocked. Fearful times ahead it seems….

  • I think that many European countries who rejected God and Christianity wholesale are being tested by this invasion. We should learn before it is too late – as this frightening youtube video shows.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c4Rvz5stHE&feature=youtu.be

  • I was disgusted at the BBC using the photos of the dead boy to stir up public emotionalism. They titled the photo something on the lines of “is this the picture that will change the nation’s mind about immigrants?”…..at the same time some clown had started a petition to demand the UK intake of countless more migrants. Some three hundred thousand signed it. I did not. I just can’t believe how dim the British are. And yesterday the BBC was showing pictures of people waving “refugees welcome” banners, some of these being in Germany.

    I am usually reading the comments columns of various papers and there is little doubt that the majority of folk are extremely concerned about the idea of “letting them all in”. We are known to be a generous nation and will help those in genuine need….that goes without saying…but so many of these incomers arrive with money in their pockets, decent clothes on their backs and smart-phones (smart-phones!!)….they aren’t in need.
    European open-border policies were always going to be dangerous and this is what you get. With the bleeding-hearts banging their gongs, the danger of the country being swamped is very real.

  • Currently swarms of Moslem migrants are storming the borders of European nations, and with an impressive display of entitlement. The cause commonly ascribed is the war in Syria, but this war has been raging for four years so that cannot by itself be the cause. There have to be other factors. So what are they?

  • The chickens from European powers’ past meddling in the Middle East and North Africa are now coming home to roost: The Berlin to Baghdad Railway, League of Nations Mandates for Britain and France in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Mesopotamia, the investment of the Third Reich in in Pan-Arab Nationalism, T.E. Lawrence versus the Balfour Declaration, the French Foreign Legion’s Saharan exploits, Anglo-Egyptian misadventures in the Sudan and Mussolini’s quest for a North African empire, to name but a few European interventions where the results have been anything but “peace in our time”.

    The present exodus from North Africa and the Middle East should be handled with both caution and compassion: Caution, because failed Islamic states have not extinguished dreams of a global caliphate – Compassion, because some refugees are of Christian, or other non-Muslim background and others may be disillusioned Muslims searching for God in unaccustomed places…

  • I think that Andrew Bolt has it about right when he asks that we accept Syrian refugees – providing they are Christians. We all know that the most persecuted people in this jihad are the Christians (and the Jews if found), so it would be eminently sensible to take them as they would probably not have as many problems in assimilating as some others.
    Also, this little boy’s family were not fleeing from persecution as they had been living in Turkey for three years, but the Father needed a good Dentist, so his sister and her family paid for the people smugglers. Also, not to forget that the brother of this child also drowned, as did their MOTHER – yet not one word spoken about grief for his wife. Rather, he has stated that he is going to Syria to bury his children. I suppose that under Islam, women (read – wives) are expendable.

  • From my limited understanding the “Arab Spring” has become the “Jihadi Spring”. Libya would be a classic example. But who was it who funded and urged on the downfall of these sovereign countries like Libya and now Syria? Was it not Obama, himself a Muslim and Marxist, a man with a visceral hatred of America and democracy. And what was it not William “talking tough” Hague who is also directly implicated in the destabilisation of Syria?

    What better wheeze can there be for overrunning Europe and the rest of Western civilization than to flood them with Muslims fleeing from the anarchy that we, as useful idiots, have fuelled and even orchestrated.

    http://www.raymondibrahim.com/in-the-media/putin-winning-egypt/

    David Skinner UK

  • It’s hard to believe a Christian writer is writing this. The overwhelming message from the Bible on this topic is that we welcome refugees and those fleeing from persecution. Even more astounding is that you approve of the Abbott (and labor’s) policy of mandatory detention – with the results being child abuse, rape and mental harm.
    If ever there was a time for a Christian nation (that’s us) to step up and show we know God, it is now. The bunker mentality – which is what this writing is – is a result of fear, fear of what all this immigration will bring, or how it will change our nation.
    What is the most often repeated command in the Bible? don’t fear.

  • Thanks Peter for providing the perfect example of what I warned about: simply launching into an emotional knee-jerk reaction without dealing with one shred of the evidence and facts that I present. Instead, just attack me as being a ‘fear-monger’ and likely not even a Christian. All in the name of Christian love and compassion no less. Gotta love it.

    It is obvious you did not even bother to read this article carefully. And it is perfectly obvious that you did not extend to me the slightest Christian courtesy of reading what I suggested folks read, where I carefully lay out the biblical material on this subject: billmuehlenberg.com/2010/11/09/christians-and-asylum-seekers/

    Instead you just merrily launch into an emotive rant, without even bothering to get things right. Nowhere does the Bible advocate open slather on borders – just the opposite. But I detail that in the article which you refuse to read, because it seems you prefer to emote instead.

    Sorry, but I expect this sort of reckless reaction from atheist trolls. I would have hoped that Christians could do a bit better.

  • Couldn’t agree more, Bill. Seems to be a lot of emotional blackmail going on, and marked absence of rational thought. The baseline is, we are being invaded and, if allowed to continue without check, we shall lose all trace of national identity across Europe – as well as seeing an upsurge in terrorism. Why too does all the help seem given to Muslim migrants, and very little to Christian refugees who are suffering extreme persecution? Why is the world by and large silent when it comes to the wholesale slaughter of Christians?

  • Thanks Bill for the response and allowing diversity of opinion on your page. I apologize for the implied sleight against your faith, that was not my intention.
    I did read the other article you mentioned, but I think it was deeply flawed. The analogy of the christian home owner/mortagee and people knocking on the door for help is both unbiblical and poorly reflective on what is going on.I think it is a thinly disguised version of “if we let in everyone, we will not be as rich as we now are and I don’t want that to happen”
    However, leaving that aside, of more concern to me on this post is your attempt to paint the people as not refugees, even on the basis of how you think they should behave – which seems flimsy to me. For sure, there will be some non-refugees among them, and evil people taking advantage of the events, but you would surely agree that there would also be a very large number of actual real refugees in the crowds.
    It appears that your argument comes down to “if we help, then we will surely help someone undeserving or dangerous, so we should not help”. I would counter that we should assist some, knowing that we might accidentally assist some who are undeserving, evil or crimminals
    thanks

  • Thanks Peter. But of course putting words in my mouth and then shooting them down helps no one. That is known as the strawman fallacy. Where did I say there are no legitimate refugees here? Where did I say we should help no one since there are some obvious frauds in the mix? If you cannot deal with what I have actually said, then you contribute little to the debate I am afraid.

    The simple truth is this: there are many queue jumpers, criminals, jihadists and others who are exploiting the refugee process for their own nefarious ends. To pretend they do not exist, or that they are not a problem, is the height of irresponsibility. No genuine Christian parent would just allow anyone into their home without first doing at least a basic background check into the person asking – or demanding – to be let in. If his wife ends up being raped and his kids killed and his house destroyed out of a misplaced and unbiblical emotional “compassion” he is not being a good Christian at all, but an irresponsible steward of what God entrusted him with. Governments have exactly the same biblical responsibility to look after their own, and make sure only those who are genuine refugees be considered. And they have the God-given right to determine how many can be taken in, and why.

    In the same way the Bible makes an absolutely clear distinction between the deserving and underserving poor. Those who refuse to work, or are lazy, etc., have no right to demand handouts from anyone. Those who are poor through no fault of their own, or because of oppression, etc., can indeed be helped when and where possible. But I speak to this in more detail in various places, eg.: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2013/01/09/christian-social-responsibility-welfare-and-the-state-part-one/

    The Bible makes it crystal clear that we are to be responsible stewards of our homes and families, as well as our nations. Emotive and undiscerning border polices are a breach of this. There is nothing Christian about it. To simply be careful and discerning in all this (which was a major thrust of my article) is fully biblical and fully Christian.

    Yes real refugees can and should be considered. And if you had actually read carefully what I wrote, you would have seen that Australia is a world leader in this. But we have no obligation whatsoever to just have open slather border and intake policies because of emotive kneejerk reactions, instead of using our God-given brains to clearly think carefully and wisely about how to best proceed.

  • @Peter Thew
    “However, leaving that aside, of more concern to me on this post is your attempt to paint the people as not refugees, even on the basis of how you think they should behave – which seems flimsy to me.”
    ISIS has openly boasted of infiltrating their operatives into Europe by posing as refugees. Since ISIS is no joke, is this not of great security and safety concern? What would you say if jihad warfare was to break out in Europe and elsewhere?
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32770390
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/isis-fighters-hiding-on-migrant-boats-coming-to-europe-report-says-10255887.html
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/555434/Islamic-State-ISIS-Smuggler-THOUSANDS-Extremists-into-Europe-Refugees

    And another thing. Given many of these refugees are said to be Muslim, why aren’t questions being asked over how come none of the rich Arab Muslim nations are helping out their own brethren?
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/09/04/the-arab-worlds-wealthiest-nations-are-doing-next-to-nothing-for-syrias-refugees/

  • Thanks Mark. Yes quite right. I seek to explain all this even further in my latest piece:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/09/08/clear-and-compassionate-thinking-on-refugees/

  • http://www.jihadwatch.org/2015/09/story-told-by-father-of-drowned-toddler-aylan-kurdi-is-full-of-holes
    “he wife was ‘a balloon’ in less than three hours ? The rate of decay to a dead body in water is not instant. Obviously Abdullah had no idea how dead people in water decay and he knew at some point they would bloat, so he described his wife in a condition of decay that takes days to mature. Here from The Forensic Library is a description:

    Bloated (2-6 days)
    This stage of decomposition includes the first visible signs of decay, namely the inflation of the abdomen due to a build-up of various gases produced by bacteria inside the cadaver. This bloating is particularly visible around the tongue and eyes as the build-up of gases cause them to protrude. The skin may exhibit a certain colour change, taking on a marbled appearance due to the transformation of haemoglobin in the blood into other pigments.”

    The guys story looks very suspicious, yet the gullible press laps up every word. It certainly is a miracle that only this guy survived.

  • Interesting read.

  • Excellent article, Bill. You are so right. I have seen so many news items of these ‘refugees’: they are not destitute – they are well fed, well groomed, well clothed and clean, neat and tidy. The whole thing is one great con

  • ISIS is making good on its threat to flood Europe with Muslims, good and bad. Undoubtably ISIS operatives are already in Europe waiting to cause massive riots, and are flooding in with the Muslim immigrants. The murder of 12 Christians in that boat heading for Italy is sufficient proof of that. Heading for a Christian country, killing Christians is the thing to do. ISIS will love you and the media will invent insane reasons why these people deserve to be let in.

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