They drown in the relentless waters of Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, see their babies drown and wash ashore, even sometimes have their dinghies intentionally sunk, suffocate in the back of trucks, chased away with pepper sprays and water cannons despite the presence of children and babies, struck with batons, dragged on the streets, shut in wire cages, and subjected to inhumane treatment, all of which occur in the European Union. A Union supposedly built on the principles of superior human rights and law. And now, as if all of this wasn't enough, some people try to blame them for the Paris attacks.
They are the refugees, whose ordeal is on TV everyday. They have a single goal in mind: fleeing their now-inhabitable countries, fleeing bombs, terror and war so that hopefully they can reach countries where they can live safely and peacefully with their families.
However, certain circles that have always been against the idea of accepting them to Europe, didn't hesitate to use Paris attacks as a pretense to do that. Marie Le Pen, the leader of French National Frontier, urged an immediate halt of intake of the migrants; her justification was that there was the possibility that there could be ISIS members amongst the refugees.[i]
Konrad Szymanski, the Polish Minister of European Union, said that in the face of the tragic incidents in Paris, it was no longer possible to accept their share of the according to the quota system by the EU.[ii]
What would have Le Pen said, if countries didn't accept the war-torn French fleeing the Nazi army that occupied Paris during WWII, under the pretense that there could have been Nazi spies amongst them? Or what would Szymanski say, if the Western countries turned away the Polish refugees running from the Soviet occupation during the Cold War?
Thank God, there are Western politicians that approach the subject with common sense. German Internal Affairs Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that refugees shouldn't be linked to the Paris attacks.[iii]
Jean Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission warned the European leaders and said that terrorists and refugees shouldn't be mixed up and the perpetrators are the ones that the refugees are fleeing from.[iv]
Some media organs, knowingly or unknowingly show the refugees as terrorists which is directly making them targets, and creating more persecution for them. It is clear that it would be nothing but tyranny to blame these downtrodden people for the Paris attacks. Furthermore, the evidence so far suggests that all the militants that took part in the attack were EU citizens. Let’s just assume for a moment that one of the perpetrators really had Syrian passport. This passport could be stolen or fake, could belong to someone at the crime scene instead of a terrorist. There are countless possibilities. Countries doubtlessly have every right to take comprehensive measures for security, but closing the borders to the refugees is not a reasonable measure.
Clearly radical terrorist groups like ISIS definitely don’t need refugees for their attacks. There are already thousands of ISIS affiliates or sympathizers living in the Europe as French, British or EU citizens. For this reason, only detailed intelligence efforts can help make the distinction between the innocent and the criminals.
Needless to say, it is crucial that intelligence is managed so that it will not lead to more violence. Intelligence can only be a protective and preventive measure; not the real solution. The real solution requires a plan targeting the essence of the problem. Violent radical militants do not interpret Islam according to the Qur’an, but rather justify violence based on explanations derived from radical beliefs, fake hadiths and superstitions. Therefore, the real solution is education based solely on the real Islam and the Qur’anic morality. An education to be provided by approaching these people with love, compassion, mercy and humility will solve the problem. Other than that, they will never abandon their twisted ideologies and weapons.
Erecting barbed wires or high walls to stop the refugee flow will not solve anything. They are people fleeing violence and war and they risk everything, even death, to achieve their goals. Such measures will make the already very difficult life of the refugees unbearable, but will not turn them away, worse, it will cause mass deaths under harsh winter conditions. Such a prospect, which is disturbing even only as a possibility, would deeply wound the hearts and conscience and will shame Europe forever.
They are poor and needy people who had to leave everything behind, their homes, properties, and beloved ones. They are horrified, and don't know what to do or where to go. Most of them don't have anything other than what they are wearing, and what they are carrying in their plastic bags. Europeans must put themselves in their shoes, even only for a while, and think how they would behave if they, their families and beloved ones faced the same situation. They should try to understand the challenges the refugees have to deal with. This will help them approach the refugees with love, compassion and mercy.
The Western states are facing a very important test. They are able to offer an urgent solution to the refugee problem through their strong economic and technical capabilities. Hopefully, they will embrace the anguished refugees with love and rediscover the beautiful values they defend such as freedom, equality, brotherhood, justice, love and cooperation. Otherwise, any practices and measures to the contrary will only exacerbate the situation.
Adnan Oktar's piece in MBC Times: