To Take the Huddled Masses Yearning to be Free or to Leave Them

By Critt Johnson and Darius Whitehurst

Civil war has been raging in Syria since 2011.  This has caused a global refugee crisis.

“Pro-democracy protests erupted in March 2011 in the southern city of Deraa after the arrest and torture of some teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. After security forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing several, more took to the streets. The unrest triggered nationwide protests demanding President Assad’s resignation. The government’s use of force to crush the dissent merely hardened the protesters’ resolve. By July 2011, hundreds of thousands were taking to the streets across the country,” writes to BBC News online.

Then with the additional rise to power by the terrorist organization, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the civil war worsened in Syria.

This conflict has caused an estimated four million Syrian refugees to flood into neighboring countries and Europe.  Now with the possibility of thousands being admitted into the United States, there is some backlash cross the nation, including incidents of harassment of Muslims in California, North Carolina, New York and Florida. President Obama is proposing to allow in about 10,000 refugees to the U.S. from Syria in the coming year.

“The refugees coming in are escaping Syrian persecution, so I don’t have a problem with the refugees coming in. Everybody is already going to Europe, so if Obama lets in 10,000 refugees, I don’t have a problem with it,” said senior Billy Weschler.

At a county town hall meeting in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in November 2015, a man speaking on behalf of an Islamic center confronted two men who were harassing him and saying all of Islam is bad and everyone practicing Islam is part of a terrorist organization, according to the Huffington Post.

“People should be able to practice their religion freely. They don’t bother anybody so they should be able to do what they want,” said alumnus Dimitri McKay, now an Elizabeth City State freshman.

According to the Huffington Post, several mosques around the nation have been deface and threatened with violence.  On November 22, 2015, a group of armed protesters gathered outside a mosque in Irving, Texas, with one sign reading, “Stop the Islamization of America.”

The civil war in Syria between the government and rebels, including ISIS, has caused this massive surge of refugees. Needing a better place to call home, they are going all across Europe in search of safety. Despite the two-year process it takes for refugees from Syria to be allowed into the U.S., whether or not to allow in more is hard to determine since it is feared by some lawmakers and citizens that any one of the refugees could secretly be a part of ISIS.

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