Why Aren’t We Praying for Syria?

Following the recent terrorist attacks on Paris, Brittany Helmer-Peschier asks why the world has forgotten to mourn for Syria.

On November 13th 2015, IS terrorists attacked public places in Paris, France. By the end of the night, 130 people were killed by shootings outside a concert, and a sports match. The world came together for Paris, after the tragedy, to mourn for their loss and pray for the families of the victims. Countries coloured their most iconic monuments in red, white, and blue. Facebook users added a red white and blue filter to their profile photos, and America declared that they “stand in solidarity” with Paris. Yet no one seemed to notice the terrorist attacks that happened the same week as the one in Paris, some of them on the same day.

According to US News, “on the same day as the Paris attacks, the jihadi terrorist organization carried out an attack that claimed 26 lives in Baghdad. The day before that, bombings in Beirut left 43 people dead. A month earlier, 100 Turkish citizens were killed after a bombing targeted a rally in Ankara. On October 31, an attack on the Russian Metrojet flights killed 244 people.”

BBC News said “a civil war in Syria has been going on for four-and-a-half years and over 250 000 Syrians have been killed. 11 million were forced to leave their homes.”

The war is between those who are loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those who are against him.

CNN posted an article saying since its formation in 2013, IS has invaded and seized cities in Syria and Iraq. They now have settlements close to the Syrian and Turkish border.

Sadly enough, there hasn’t been the same amount of sympathy for Syria as there has been for France. Countries all over the world did not colour their buildings in the Syrian flag. No one of Facebook changed their profile photo to support Syria, and American certainly did not openly stand in solidarity with Syria. In fact, a growing number of US states expressing refusal to Syrian refugees.

The Guardian said “at least 25 states have expressed resistance to accepting Syrian refugees attempting to flee their country’s civil war, and the list is rapidly expanding. Several governors are working to prevent refugee resettlement in their state directly, while other governors and several members of Congress are urging federal action. The chairman of the US House of Representatives homeland security committee, Michael McCaul, also called on Obama to suspend plans to admit Syrian refugees into the US. And Senator Rand Paul, a Republican presidential candidate, introduced a bill to impose a moratorium on refugees from up to 30 countries with jihadist movements, including Syria.”

Several US states have expressed concern about accepting Syrian refugees because of security issues. It will be hard to know who is a threat and who is a victim. Since there have been instances of conflict between Middle Eastern Muslims in the US, states such as Texas are refusing to accept refugees.

According to The Guardian, the governor of Texas Greg Abbott wrote a letter to Obama saying “The threat posed to Texas by ISIS is very real. ISIS claimed credit last May when two terrorist gunmen launched an attack in Garland, Texas.”

IS claimed responsibility for the attacks but the gunmen were not Syrian. They were US citizens.

Certainly, the attacks in Paris pale in comparison to the four and a half year civil war in Syria, but prejudice has gotten in the way of compassion. For the sake of Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees, we can only hope that the US and other countries will keep their borders open.

Democrat Bernie Sanders says that the US must not fall victim to “Islamophobia” and that “during these difficult times, we will not succumb to Islamophobia. We will not turn our backs on the refugees.”



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