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Syrian refugees arriving in Scotland

Following the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, the Syrian refugees are unfairly thrown into the spotlight. As speculation began swirling that those involved in the Nov. 13 2015 attacks had crossed into France amongst wave of Syrian refugees escaping conflict.

This has prompted harsh anti-refugee rhetoric across Western Europe, and with the U.S. presidential candidates saying that barring entry for refugees – even children under the age of 5 – is the way to go.

A Scottish newspaper, however is taking a much different and more empathetic approach, and many are applauding the outlet’s message.

The Nov. 17 2015 print of the National isn’t shying away from its take on refugees on the day the first Syrians are set to arrive in Scotland.

First Syrian Refugee - Welcome to Scotland

 

In an editorial on the subject, the newspaper called out political “bigots” in Scotland who are attempting to “poison minds against the Syrian refugees.”

“They will not succeed in doing so,” the outlet wrote.

“Their blatant and cynical attempt to capitalize on a tragedy will disgust the vast majority of Scots, who understand that refugees from Syria are fleeing the very same terrorism of which our French neighbors were targets last weekend.”

The tweet with The National’s front page has gone viral, garnering more than 2,300 retweets in a matter of hours.

As President Obama reminded us, it’s vital we remember that refugees are those trying to escape the violence — not perpetuate it.

During a nearly hour-long press conference at the G-20 summit in Turkey on Monday,Obama reiterated that many refugees are, in fact, the victims of terrorism — not terrorist sympathizers.

“The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism, the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife.”

In the wake of the Paris attacks, the Obama administration has remained steadfast in accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. in 2016 — a drastic increase from previous years.

In his G-20 summit statements, the president also made sure to point out that radical extremists — not Muslims — were responsible for the attacks in France. It’s vital to differentiate the two.

“When I hear folks say, ‘Maybe we should just admit the Christians, but not the Muslims,’ when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks, themselves, come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

Terrorism can be a scary and disorienting thing, and it can lead to irrational reactions to what’s happening here and abroad.

That’s all the more reason why we should all keep The National’s front page in mind and make sure to prioritize compassion over fear in the months ahead.

After all, we’re all in this together.

 

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