WHEN I saw the body of Alan Kurdi face down on the Mediterranean Sea, I was saddened by the image. But I’ve been unable to understand the global outrage that has been directed against Canada. Once again, the bleeding hearts have put our great country in the dock for a geopolitical situation over which we have no control and which all our generosity won’t be able to solve.
Frankly, the outrage over the Syrian refugees is misplaced. In the last one year, ISIS has brutally killed in the most grotesque manner thousands of people whose religious values don’t align with their own. More than 5,000 Yazidi men have been killed and as many, if not more, women have been raped and subjected to horrific indignities, all because they don’t share ISIS’s narrow religious ideology. A simple web search will reveal many stomach-churning images of Yazidi and Christina minorities meeting their horrific fate at the hands of a brutally oppressive organisation fighting for nothing else but global Islamic control. And yet, we rarely see street protests over those deaths. Where are the rallies condemning ISIS ? When will secular Muslims, especially those in the west, protest publicly against ISIS and its perverse subversion of their religion?
Canada has a storied tradition and a proud history of welcoming those who have been oppressed but we can’t allow more refugees as a knee-jerk reaction to a single albeit deeply saddening image. I agree with the federal government stance on accepting 10,000 refugees this year and applaud their position on prioritizing those who face religious prosecution at the hands of ISIS.
Canada shouldn’t accept more refugees than we currently plan to and only after they pass strict background checks on their religious and political affiliations. Canada and other western democracies should exert diplomatic pressure on other Islamic countries to accept refugees. On that account, the response of the middle-eastern countries is nothing but appalling. Iran, just to give one example, is politically involved in Syria and yet has to accept a single Syrian refugee. Resource-rich countries in the Gulf could easily welcome thousands of refugees in a culture and religion that would be comfortably familiar to the displaced and yet countries such as Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia have shown utter moral bankruptcy in refusing to accept refugees. Why should the burden only fall on Canada, America or other Western European countries, societies that are already struggling with homegrown jihadis who pledge allegiance to an imagined Islamic brotherhood rather than the nation states in which they grew up in?
We have been lucky in Canada but countries such as England and the US have paid a heavy cost of homegrown terrorism. Unfortunately, many so-called open-minded people in these countries have a direct role in encouraging divisiveness in the name of religious freedom and diversity. Calls for strict interpretation of Sharia law are no longer shocking in the UK, where Islamic fundamentalism has found deep roots among the first- and second-generation Muslims. As reported recently, there is a surge in Sharia marriages as young Muslims shun the UK laws. And all of this, I believe, is related to whom we welcome in our country. The image of Kurdi appeals to our humanity but it shouldn’t mean we can have uninhibited migration from Islamic countries where allegiance to religion comes before love for the country. It’s not a stretch to imagine ISIS supporters from Syria finding their way to Canada. We are far too familiar with stories of first- and second-generation muslims leaving western shores to be part of the global jihad to not be careful of who we let in our country. And that means anyone who wants to come to Canada must follow a certain procedure. We can’t take our hard-earned liberty and freedom for granted. No image for me has the power to shake those deeply-cherished ideals.