Standing Up for the Little Guys

Suppose you had the opportunity to rummage through a huge pile of gems gemsover 5 months’ time to pick out the stones that particularly appealed to you, knowing that you were free to keep them. At the end of the that month, they are sorted for you. Here are the numbers according to their sorting:*

Total gems selected: 2099 (100%)

Gem class 1 total: 6 (0.28%)

Gem class 2 total: 10 (0.47%)

Gem class 3 total: 17 (0.81%)

Gem class 4 total: 30 (1.4%)

Gem class 5 total: 2043 (97.3%)

*Numbers do not match total exactly because a few gems were counted in more than one category.

The overwhelmingly clear conclusion from this sorting is that you are extremely partial to Gem class 5 (for whatever reason), and care relatively little for any of the other gem classes, least of all for Gem class 1.

Yesterday, the U.S. State Department Refugee Processing Center released their data on the number of Syrian refugees admitted into the United States in May, and the total for the year 2016 to date. The figures above mirror the actual numbers and categories of Syrian refugees welcomed by our government. Here are the categories:

Total Syrian refugees for Jan-May 2016:  2099

Christians:  6

Yazidis:  10

Shi’ite Muslims:  17

Other Islamic Splinter Sects:  30

Sunni Muslims:  2043

What may one conclude from this? Well, it’s a bit complicated, for we must account for the fact that the large majority of the population of Syria is Sunni, and so it should be expected that a large percentage of refugees would be Sunni Muslim. On the other hand, the Syrian government as a secular institution has never sought to persecute its majority population. Likewise, the major terrorist and opposition operators in Syria (ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic Front, Ahrar al-Sham, etc.) are all Sunni, so other than by getting caught in the crossfire of a civil war  and its attendant chaos, there are no major predators to persecute them. The same cannot be said for the minority religious groups of the region. The Syrian regime used to protect these religious and ethnic minorities, but it has its hands full just trying to maintain its existence. So these groups are relatively helpless in the face of well-armed, ideologically purist radical Sunni Muslims. Shi’ites are slurred with the term “Rafidah,” meaning “rejecters,” and are treated as apostates to be executed. Other non-Sunni sects fall into the same camp. Christians and Yazidis are special objects of derision, forced to convert, flee or die. Their wives and children are fair game for slavery and sexual license. Even if Christians make it to the many refugee camps, they prefer not to stay there because of the likelihood that even among the Muslim refugees they will be special objects of violence, rape or worse.refugees

So, returning to the State Department numbers, what can we say? Though the religious minorities of Syria are the most regularly and severely persecuted of refugees, they are being given short shrift by the Obama administration. This makes no sense for two reasons: 1) they are more desperately in need as a group than any other refugee group, generally speaking; 2) they are the least likely to harbor stealth terrorists — ISIS has made it clear that they intend to use emergency refugee immigration as a means to insert its jihadis easily into the West, including America. The Christians and Yazidis in particular are the least likely to harbor violent, anti-Western inclinations. A third reason relates specifically to the Syrian Christians: since they are steeped in Judeo-Christian values and beliefs, they assimilate most easily into American culture, as immigration of their forebears over the last 120 years amply attests. In short, Syrian Christians make good citizens. While the same may be true of Syrian Muslims, the values and beliefs of Islam do not fit hand in glove with America’s Judeo-Christian ethos, and so many Muslims have a harder time assimilating, even if they are willing — which, as radical Muslims demonstrate time and again, is not always the case.

Why, then, this glaring imbalance in the numbers? We should be especially solicitous of the Christian and other religious minority refugees. At the very least we should bring them in at equal proportions to their relative populations in the war zones. But instead we find this unbelievable bias against them and in favor of those with the greatest potential of bringing harm to our nation. The only attempt at justification I have heard offered is the sad excuse that if we show any interest in the Christians, the Muslims will see that as an anti-Muslim bias, which might lead them to hate us more and so fuel more radicalism. This is patent nonsense. Muslims who are disposed to hate America are inspired first and foremost by their interpretation of their religion, secondly by US superpower status in the world, thirdly by our foreign policy which they believe targets them unfairly. What we do with refugees doesn’t register on most of their radar screens, and if it does, it doesn’t remain for long. But even worse is what this excuse says about us as a nation, for even if it were true that giving sanctuary to those in most desperate need (who happen to be Christians and Yazidis in this case) would raise the ire of our enemies, is it right for us as a nation to refuse to help the desperate so as to make things easier on ourselves? Should we let our fear of how radicals might act shape our decision to reject the applications of Christians and Yazidis and instead give the green light to Sunni Muslims, hoping somehow to placate the terrorists while at the same time opening ourselves up to stealth jihad?

The Obama administration should be pilloried for this outrage. America for much of its national life has stood up for the “little guy,” and we should again in this tragic set of circumstances. Read up on this yourself here; become more informed and raise your voice publicly. Contact your elected officials and let them know of your indignation (if you see the same injustice I do). Pray for all refugees who are caught in a hell not of their own making.

Indeed, in a perfect world, there would be no refugees. Even in a good world, there would be more than enough resources and resolve to serve all refugees fully. But in this real world of scarcity and equivocation, where we have to make hard choices as to whom to help and whom to pass over, the first priority must be to marshal our efforts to help those refugees who are the stated targets of evil and hatred.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry, please order the State Department Refugee Processing Center to do what is right!

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4 Responses to Standing Up for the Little Guys

  1. Victor Joe says:

    The author of this article is a personal friend for 20 years and has given me no indication of being racially biased or full of hatred for those whose ideology is different than ours. Mateen is a Palestinian by racial origin but an American born in the United States. He fully understands the problems and politics of the world today, especially in the middle east where his roots began. He speaks with a passion and conviction of a person whose heart is changed by God’s love in Jesus Christ. I believe he has a lot to say about what is happening in the middle east. His insights into the mind and heart of the Muslim world should be heard.


    • mateenelass says:

      Victor, thank you for your kind words. One small correction. My ethnic background is Syrian American, not Palestinian, though the two are not very far apart geographically. And I would underline your observation that I have no animus toward Muslims personally — all of my relatives on my father’s side are Muslim (at least culturally if not by conviction). I have never yet been accused of racism, especially against Arabs, which would be funny if the accusation were leveled, as that is my own heritage!


  2. Pingback: Why the Chronic Imbalance? | the personal blog of Mateen Elass

  3. Pingback: Jihad Report - August 5, 2016 | Western Free Press

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