Vetting, the process of reviewing refugee candidates before they come into the U.S., should be a concern for all of us. In this essay I will discuss why, but above all else I want you to understand this simple truth: For anyone who studies history, you know that we relive it when humanity fails to learn a lesson. It would seem to me that it would do us all a great justice to learn about our past, so that we may better prepare for the future.
To begin, it’s perfectly reasonable to allow Christians, Jews and other Middle Eastern minorities into the U.S., as we can be generally assured they won’t commit mass murder and mayhem when they get here.
These people, who are so heavily persecuted in Syria, Iraq and so many other countries controlled by either theocratic governments or simply egotistical dictators, are undoubtedly grateful to get out of those hell holes.
A problem arises when refugees lie about who they are or what religion they belong to or to whom they are loyal. Interestingly, some countries require a person’s religion to be printed on their government issued identity card, but this is not in every Middle Eastern or North African country, where the majority of refugees are coming from.
Here’s the real heart of the matter. While liberal Muslims do exist, that is to say those who do not adhere to any literal interpretation of the Qur’an or the teachings in the Hadith, it is extremely difficult to know which Muslim is or is not sympathetic to the plight of ISIS – Muslims who abide by a literal and fundamentalist interpretation.
A major issue in America are Islamic apologists, these are people who will condemn you for speaking openly about your concerns with Islam. Though we know it completely rational to draw into question a Muslim’s loyalty; these regressive liberals as I would call them, see it as bigotry or racism. They are blinded by their political correctness and it prevents America from asking the questions that need to be asked.
I’m not sure if the biggest concern is currently that foreign born Muslims are coming into the U.S., who’s intentions we do not know; or that in 40 years from now as new generations are born and the influence of Islam spreads to greater percentages of our population they will gain significant political power.
As someone who has spent years studying world religions and once upon a time being an adherent, I know that it can be argued that all religions have some variance of usefulness or artistic appeal, but among the world’s largest religions, particularly the Abrahamic religions and Hindu religion, I could (and have in some cases) gather masses of material from the holy texts of these global belief systems that if taken literally (as they all were at some point in history) it would spell out the end of humanistic civilization as we know it.
Unlike Christianity, which has greatly stepped away from literal translations and adherence to fundamentalist interpretations, Islam has not reached this point of maturity. Of course, it has not been an easy or pleasant aging process for Christianity.
During the Middle Ages, historical accounts suggest as many as 3,000 Jews in Europe were murdered by Christians after mass hysteria in response to a single allegation that a sacramental host (the Eucharist – an unleavened cracker received by Catholics during Mass that once consecrated is believed to be the body of Jesus Christ) was desecrated by a Jew.
Beginning in 1184 by Catholic Pope Lucius III, the helm of the Holy Inquisition was then passed on by the hands of other popes, and carried out by bishops, priests, friars and monks, and would eventually lead to the deaths of 40,000 – 50,000 European Jews, Christian Cathars, pagans, alleged witches, other heretics, apostates and scientific scholars.
Though the Inquisition was not officially proclaimed until 1231, it lasted some 700 years and the act of execution by the Catholic Church lasted until 1850 in Mexico.
Justified by the Bible in such verses as, Deuteronomy: 17, 12-13 / 13, 12-16 / 13, 7-11 / John: 15, 6 and in many other books of the Bible to include Genesis, Exodus, 2 Timothy, Leviticus, Jeremiah and so many more. Murder and mayhem was brought about by such highly revered individuals as St. Dominic and St. Augustine, who in time would be heralded to sainthood for their encouragement of human atrocities during the so called Holy Inquisition.
It was a capital offense to be in possession of a Bible if you were a common citizen in Medieval Europe up until the 16th Century. In other words, you would be put to death if you were not a clergyman or if you were a woman and were caught with a Bible in your possession. The Bible was considered such a sacred text, that no common man and definitely no woman, was allowed to touch it.
Though the Roman Catholic Church’s days of brutality and intolerance have mostly come to pass in first world nations, in Africa people are still being executed in the name of the Christian God and Jesus Christ in countries like South Sudan and Nigeria for such nonsensical crimes as speaking openly about their skepticism of religion or for merely being lesbian, gay or transgender.
In these countries and others like them, government officials will publish papers distributed to the public, naming these poor souls – knowing full well that it will lead to their arrest and/or murder.
In our world today, most Muslims fall under the description of moderate. The difference between a moderate Christian and a moderate Muslim in first world nations is huge. Islam is a religion, under Shia or Sunni sects, that in its literal interpretation seeks to take control of communities, to enforce Sharia Law on all, whether all are Muslim or not.
ISIS, for example, has stated that Western non-believers can either convert or become slaves and pay a tax, up until the time you either convert or be executed. Like many religions, when taken literally, Islam is not peaceful towards or tolerant of anyone who does not adhere. Even moderate Muslims believe that certain Islamic laws should be obeyed by non-Muslims.
In polls taken across Europe after the murders of journalists for depicting Muhammad as a caricature, one in every four Muslims who replied said they sympathized with the murderers. That poll reached at least 1,000 Muslims in the United Kingdom.
If that’s not startling enough, 47% of them said they support clerics or Imams in mosques who preached hatred towards Westerners (non-Muslims). Further, 11% said they supported the Jihadist ideology.
Now, you must realize that the U.K. is a mostly liberal group of countries for those numbers to really hit home. If free Muslims living there harbor these types of sentiments, imagine how other Muslims might feel who live in other countries that are far less liberal or open minded such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, just to name a few in the Middle East, and countries in Africa like Algeria, Chad, Somalia, Guinea, Egypt, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia where 50-100% of those populations are now Muslim.
There is a tiny blip of hope. There are Muslims who are trying to change this. These liberal Muslims are speaking out against the type of fundamentalist ideals that lead to the massacres we have all come too readily familiar with. Unfortunately their voices are tiny and they too are targeted by extremists and cannot live in their homelands and inevitably flee to Western countries.
Foreign born Christians, Jews, Baha’i’s, other religious minorities and liberal Muslims who are fleeing their homelands as refugees and who speak out against ISIS and lone wolves, should be welcomed into the U.S. because we need their voices against those who seek to end our way of life.
This essay is available as an audio track on SoundCloud: