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The Plight of the Refugee

Having written on the propagandistic character assassination of Dr. Sekaleshfar, given the current charged climate against refugees, I see it incumbent to shed light on the double standards applied to refugees as well. Without a doubt, there are certain troubling and misrepresentative incidents where refugees have committed atrocious acts. However, such instances are provocatively blown out of proportion to solely serve a neo-Nazi exclusivist agenda. Due to the actions of a minute sum of refugees, the majority are constantly on the receiving end of discriminatory policies, inflammatory rhetoric and Nazi-like anti-refugee cartoons. Not only are problematic incidents carried out by refugees excessively reported on, but the virtuous acts are left unspoken, unnoticed and willfully cold-shouldered by the media at large. These have all ultimately led to the normalization of dehumanizing refugees; referring to them as an ISIS “Trojan-horse”, rabid dogs, marauders and a 200,000-man army. For those who were alive during the 1930’s, this sort of rhetoric echoes Nazi Germany calls to reject Jews. For the same events that followed Nazi Germany’s propaganda war on Jews, I believe today’s paralleled rhetoric towards refugees by demagogue like politicians should be shamed and opposed on all fronts.

Besides the troubling truth of political campaigns thriving off of anti-refugee rhetoric, a counter-productive petty trend pioneered by the infamous Donald J. Trump, the fact that it aids ISIS and its other offshoot insurgency groups should be alarming enough to cause a nation-wide distaste against it. To go with the medias partially unprecedented dehumanization of refugees, on various occasions, the accusations made against refugees were not factual, racist and Islamophobic. Expectantly, this “other” portrayal of refugees has cost them their security, especially in light of the recent decision of Great Britain to exit the European Union. Besides the humanitarian arguments opposing the common anti-refugee narrative that’s spreading rampantly like wildfire, there are very serious national security concerns regarding the narrative, that if not taken seriously, would effectuate unprecedented dangers to society as a whole. Systemic endorsement of xenophobic perceptions of an alienated “other” has taken its toll on humanity before, but rather than learning from history, we’re going down that path once more. An evident foreshadow is half of Americans supporting the barring of only Muslim refugees from entering America. Think about it. A majority of Americans are in favor of selective admittance of refugees, human beings (a majority of which consist of children) that are fleeing from war torn countries for their lives, into a country that is implicitly accountable and has its dirty hands drenched in the blood of thousands of innocent civilians. The only fault of these refugees is being caught between the crossfire of the Wests interventionist agenda in the Middle East. So besides having their country destabilized, destructed and turned into a war-zone, they are now expected to remain therein. On the lucky occasion that a refugee is permitted entrance into a Western country, they will fall a victim to the normalized and mainstream xenophobia against them. Expectantly, any virtuous praiseworthy act committed by them will be brushed under the rug because it would clearly attest against the dehumanized portrayal of refugees.

You could be sure that those referring to Syrian refugees as “welfare migrants” wouldn’t ever mention the Syrian, Muslim, refugee that handed over €150,000 he discovered in a second-hand wardrobe to the German police, or, the Syrian Refugee Support Group Calgary opened their doors to evacuees fleeing the Fort McMurray’s wildfire. No such equivalent act was done by anyone on the right, which speaks volumes of their self-righteous attitude. Similar exemplary humanitarian acts were seen in Great Britain, a country with threateningly rising Islamophobic hate crimes, where Syrian refugees who were granted asylum commendably provided aid to Rochdale flood victims. Yassel al-Jassem, one of the many Syrians who lent a helping hand, said: “As Syrian refugees, we are honored to take part in community service initiatives such as this to give back to the communities that have so warmly taken us in. I put out a call through WhatsApp and immediately had many other Syrian refugees join me.” Meanwhile, Britain First and EDL, infamous neo-Nazi fascists that purport to catering the needs of the British people, were nowhere to be seen. It’s quite rich to see the group who berates other Muslims for not assimilating into “British culture” to be absent in difficulties within domestic Britain, the very country they heedlessly want to “take back.” Additionally, a Syrian, Muslim, refugee in Germany helped rescue numerous passengers from burning to death. As a final example, we will be using the one case no right-wing politician wants to talk about. Far-right German anti-Immigration German politician, Stefan Jagsch, was rescued by the very people he was campaigning against. According to the Independent, Jagsch had made previous testimonials including ‘the boat is full’, ‘stop the asylum food’ and ‘integration is genocide’. Since these incidents aren’t glorified if not even publicized by major media networks, the masses carry an ugly, barbarous and dehumanized perception of refugees. This disgustingly xenophobic is perception is further reinforced when American presidential candidates, namely Donald J. Trump, flourish their campaign from it. When high end members of a society spew hatred by ordering Americans to “lock their doors” from Syrian refugees, there really is no higher expectation of the uneducated laymen of the same society who rely on the top order for their guidance out of America’s decades old political and social rut.

For so long as the “leaders” of a society haven’t become conscious and dealt with their inward “idols” (their wealth, reputation, rank, profession, title, knowledge, fame or social status) and the agendas of major media networks are based on an immoral criterion, we should not expect systemic changes in tackling any form of oppression. Given the limited publicity and platform given to real principled Muslim leaders that tackle issues from a credible Islamic perspective, the overwhelming majority of xenophobic broadcastings of refugees will trump (pun-intended) any authentic solutions offered to modern socio-political adversities, especially in regards to “refugee-problem.”

This fact shouldn’t be used as an excuse to adopt a passive behavior, quite contrarily, it should spark our inner revolutionary spirits to struggle in the path of unconditional activism – the very path embarked on by The Holy Prophet and his blessed progeny, peace be upon them.

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