Saturday, November 14, 2015

Syrian Immigrant was among Paris Bombers

In the midst of the investigation into the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, France that shocked the world yesterday evening, French officials were able to match the remains of one of the suicide bombers who attacked the Stade de France to a Syrian passport that had been used to apply for asylum in Europe's free-travel area. The holder of the passport that was found at the stadium near Paris had reportedly been registered as a refugee on the island of Leros on October 3rd. Security Officials in Europe have been worried for the duration of the refugee crisis that operatives within the Islamic State would mix in with the massive assembly of immigrants fleeing Iraq and Syria. After last night's events, it would appear that their worst fears have come to fruition.

Immigration policies have been a hot topic in world politics in recent years. Many would argue (and have been arguing for a long time) that weak immigration policies in Europe regarding the refugee crisis could potentially lead to the rise of terrorist groups in certain areas, and that countries need to be very strict in their enforcement of border policies. After what happened Friday night, I don't think many people doubt that the decision to shut down French borders is a good idea.

This event has sparked even more debate over immigration policies in the United States. Many conservative pundits and news analysts have now stated that they believe we should do as France does and shut down our borders completely. I do recall that a few students in our class voiced their opinions that the United States should take part in welcoming refugees from Syria and Iraq into our country. Do you still hold the same opinions? As for your views on immigration policies, do you think that the French government is doing the right thing by attempting to close off the borders to the country? Do you think it would be wise for the United States to do the same?

Wall Street Journal
Photo: The Hindu


Steven Lee said...

I personally think that the reaction from France is completely justified since they want to make sure their citizens are safe. However, I would not want this incident to make Europe all of a suddent shut down their borders and not allow any of the Syrian refugees to take to their shores. Countries that are actively fighting against ISIS in Syria and Iraq have an questioned aboligation to take in as many refugees as they can. It is a shame that Obama prides himself in thinking that taking in 10,000 refugees is generous. Even the UK, one of the more conservative countries in the EU, is taking in 20,000 refugees within a year. Going beyond the scope of France, I would like to add that the reason why these terrorists attack our countries is because we are over there attacking them. Despite President Bush claiming that they "hate us for our freedom", I would like to point out that they actually hate us because we're killing many of their family members. France is intervening in 4 African countries and is one of the members of the coalition against Daesh in Syria. Of course ISIS should not be killing innocent civilians in order to get their point across. However, they are the weaker force thus, with limited amount of supplies, they have more desperate measures at their disposal. War is the way rich people fight and terrorism is how poor people fight. If western countries have not interfered with the power structure of the middle east then ISIS would not even exist. We always like to talk about how they terrorize us but we have been terrorizing them since post world war 2 with the creation of Israel, coups, etc. We need to have a very hard look at the foriegn policy of western countries and really ask why they attack us so much. Of course radical Islam would exist without western imperialism but it would not be as bad as this. What we can do at this point is to get Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Iran, and other muslim countries together and have them fight against ISIS. We need to have the Saudis to stop encouraging this disgusting view of wahhabism islam in their country and stop Turkey from bombing the Kurds, which are one of the most effective fighting forces on the ground against ISIS. There is a huge difference of a message to the Muslims world when an American kills a Muslim and when a Muslim kills another Muslim.

ETHAN CHAO! said...

I believe that France was right to close its borders, and in light of both the Charlie Hebdo shooting and this attack, ISIS may strike France again, and may strike anywhere in Europe at anytime. The U.S. should accept these Syrian refugees too, but must do so cautiously. The U.S. has a very long and bumpy history with immigration, and doesn't have a good track record with accepting refugees, like Jewish refugees in World War II. It's different this time, though, since there's the added risk of accidentally accepting terrorists, like France did, and although probability pointed out how unlikely this was, empirical evidence shows how the concern of terrorists within the refugees is completely valid. There are millions of other Syrian refugees that are legitimately trying to restart their lives, and alienating them from the rest of society could lead to the isolation that can give rise to racial conflict and increased terrorism. Therefore, I believe that European countries should heavily restrict immigration, but remember not to radicalize the already settled refugees by bullying and isolating them in society. The European countries and the U.S. should focus more on domestic security and immigrant integration into society.

Russ Cheng said...

While this incident has strengthened fears of accepting refugee terrorists-in-disguise, I think that it's important to consider some things before coming to any conclusions. First, its not impossible that the passport belonged to a victim of the bombings; after all, an initially suspected owner of an Egyptian passport turned out to be a victim. Regarding the motivations of the suicide bombers, Jihad analyst Aaron Zelin wrote “For those who want to blame the attacks on Paris on refugees, you might want to get your facts straight.” He mentions that individuals fleeing to Europe directly undermines ISIS's message that their self-styled caliphate is a refuge, which makes it unlikely that Syrian refugees are ISIS supporters. We must also ask ourselves: "Why would a suicide bomber carry a passport on a suicide mission?" "So it gets found," tweeted Islamist extremism analyst Charlie Winter. Whether it was planted before the attack or stolen after, some theorize that ISIS wants to turn Europe against its refugees. While some say that restricting immigrants is necessary, others turn to improving background checks on immigrants.

And what does President Obama think of this? Regarding Jeb Bush's comment about focusing only on Christian refugees and rejecting those of Muslim belief, President Obama said, at the G20 Summit, "That's not American. That's not who we are. We don't have religious tests to our compassion." President Obama argues that it is important that "we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence, and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism." Are the two somehow related? Maybe it's still too soon to tell.