Daily Kos: Syrian Refugees and the Politics of Fear

by Rudy López, Interfaith Worker Justice, Executive Director

Recent weeks have seen an escalation of both physical and verbal violence against Muslim-Americans and Muslim immigrants, particularly refugees fleeing the war in Syria. Preying on people's misguided fears for their own political gain, some politicians have clothed themselves in the language of morality and patriotism while flagrantly disregarding the meaning of both. This week, Donald Trump took the attack on human dignity to another despicable level by calling for a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. This bigotry, hatred and lack of common decency defies some of the most basic tenets of all faith traditions and of American democracy. It must stop.

To be clear: these outlandish policy prescriptions are racist and ignorant and have no place in our political discourse. To even entertain these ideas is poisonous to the Constitution of the United States and ruinous to the tradition of religious freedom as old as our nation itself.

The United States is one of the most vibrant and diverse nations on the planet. The countless identities and experiences that comprise the people we call neighbors, friends and coworkers are our greatest strength. Our nation’s founding documents codify our welcoming tradition, regardless of who you are, what you believe, or where you come from. The greatest symbol of our nation reiterates this pledge in verse, saying, ‘Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.’ It mandates us to extend a hand to those in need.

Our faith traditions are crystal clear about our duty to welcome all of our brothers and sisters ‘because the Lord your God is the God of all gods and Lord of all lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who doesn’t play favorites and doesn’t take bribes. He enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing.  That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt.’

Victory against fear and intolerance can only be achieved by embracing love and inclusion. In the coming weeks and months, the Interfaith Worker Justice network will do all we can to reinforce and remind all Americans of our nation's long history of religious freedom and solidarity with oppressed communities. More importantly, we will continue to push back against the inhumane treatment of many of our brothers and sisters in our nation's workplaces, on our streets and borders.    

From Daily Kos.