On Friday, Nov. 13, devastating terrorist attacks took place in Paris, France, leaving people around the world heartbroken for the many lives affected.
Following the attacks, at least 27 governors made statements against allowing Syrian refugees into their states, claiming that refugees could be a potential terrorist threat, according to CNN.
“Given the horrifying events in Paris last week, I am calling for an immediate halt in the placement of any new refugees in Arizona,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.
Gov. Butch Otter of Idaho said it makes no sense to allow people into our country who have the avowed desire to harm our communities, our institutions and our people.
A refugee is someone who has been persecuted or fears persecution due to their race, religion, political stance or membership in a social group and is not firmly resettled in another country, according to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
We should not turn people away because of fear and hate, but rather find a way to help and them because that is our moral duty.
This does not mean we should freely and carelessly let everyone in, there is a needed process for our safety which should remain. Our attitude toward refugees should not be to categorize all of them as terrorists. Many of them just like us. Many of them are children whose life paths are out of their control.
Syrian refugees were not responsible for the attacks in Paris. ISIS admittedly took responsibility for the attacks, according to The New York Times.
During World War II, the U.S. turned away many Jews due to security concerns. Shiploads of Jews were sent back to internment camps due to fear that Nazi spies could hide in their midst.
We know that as a result of fear, many innocent lives were taken, and we now view that part of history with shameful eyes and saddened hearts.
Let’s not repeat history. Let’s resist allowing fear to overwhelm our humanity and ethical obligation. Let’s be disciples of Christ by reaching out to those who need us.
Humans of New York, a blog that features inhabitants of New York City, has posted countless stories of refugees who just want a better life.
A broken father spoke out saying he wished he could do more for his young daughter whose life has been nothing but a struggle.
“She never had a chance to taste childhood,” he said. “When we were getting on a plastic boat, I heard something that broke my heart. She saw her mother being crushed by the crowd and screamed, ‘Please don’t kill my mother! Kill me instead!’”
Do our leaders understand the intense turmoil innocent children are being faced with?
Of course we don’t want to allow harm to our country, but a majority of refugees seek only for help, shelter and comfort. In fact, their intent is actually to escape terrorism and build a better life for themselves.
A Hungarian refugee told of how the Army knocked down the doors of his home four times and beat him and his wife in front of his young children.
“The psychology of my children changed before my eyes,” he said. “I stopped getting hugs and kisses. They used to watch cartoons and play normal games. Now, they only play games related to war.”
While reflecting on this situation, we should apply the teachings of the New Testament where Christ teaches many times to help those in need and serve the people around us no matter what.
Could it be possible that a very small percentage of refugees want to kill us? Yes. But does it matter when hundreds of thousands of them are beaten, broken, scared and just want protection? Shall we turn away the many hopeful and wounded because of our fear for the small percentage?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently released a letter encouraging members of the Church to help refugees.
The letter encourages members to help in anyway possible, whether it be through fast offerings or another means.
The conclusion of the letter says, “May the Lord bless you as you render Christlike service to those in need.”
During this devastating time, America should demonstrate moral courage. Members of the Church should practice what we preach and love our neighbor as Christ would.