Why The Focus Now?
Europe’s refugee crisis has unfolded over the last year, but only now seems to have broken through into mainstream media coverage. That coverage sprang from a viral photo of a three-year-old Syrian boy’s corpse washed up on the beaches of Turkey. According to media coverage, the boy’s mother and brother drowned as well, while his father lived.
The photo certainly breaks your heart. But where were all the photos of gassed children from Bashar Assad’s Syria when President Obama drew a red line, and then promptly violated it? Where are all the photos of babies beheaded by ISIS? Why did this photo make the front pages?
The answer: the other photos would have driven more Middle East involvement from the West. The current photo does not. It merely demands that Europe accept more Muslims from the Middle East into its midst, without solving any of the underlying problems driving the refugee crisis in the first place. It pushes the notion that the West somehow owes membership to people who may very well reject the most basic tenets of the West.
Who Are These Refugees? That competition to accept refugees would be fine if we knew that the refugees plan on assimilating into Western notions of civilized society, and if we knew that they were indeed victims of radical Muslim atrocities. Unfortunately, we know neither.
It is deeply suspicious that major Muslim countries that do not border Syria refuse to take in large numbers of refugees, except for Algeria and Egypt.
Turkey has taken in nearly two million refugees, according to the United Nations, and keeps the vast majority in refugee camps — a typical practice in a region that has kept Arab refugees from the 1948 war of Israeli independence in Arab-run camps for seven decades. Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq have taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees as well, but all border the chaotic, collapsing Syria, and thus have limited choice in the matter.
Iran has taken in no refugees. Neither have Pakistan, Indonesia, or any of the other dozens of member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain all refused to take any refugees, and explicitly cited the risk of terrorists among the refugees, according to The Guardian (UK).
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