The conservative contends that the more appropriate term for people flooding into the U.S. and Europe from Syria and other unstable countries in the Middle East is “economic migrant.”
“Be careful about using the word ‘refugees,’” Farage said during an interview on Fox. “You know a refugee is somebody in fear of their life because of their race or their religion.”
“Actually, most people that are coming to their countries, whether it’s coming into Europe or coming into the U.S. are basically economic migrants, and it’s mixed in with some of those that you potentially get terrorists,” he continued. “I do think the word ‘refugee’ gets misused.”
Farage concluded that simply hailing from a country “that’s got difficulties,” doesn’t make a person a refugee.
The former UKIP leader, when pressed for an example of who should qualify as a refugee, responded: “The difference is fundamental… A refugee is someone like a Jewish person in Germany or Austria, a refugee is someone like an Indian who was living in Idi Amin’s Uganda.
“They’re people, because of who they are, because of their religion, are being persecuted – perhaps like Christians in Syria or Iraq today.”
And that gets to the fallacy behind the refugee policy promoted by the Obama administration.
Way back in 2012, Bob Livingston explained how U.S. policy in the Middle East was putting the lives Christians and non-Muslims in the region in danger.
Syrian “rebels” are attacking Christian churches and ordering Christians out of their homes. Christians have been pressured to join the opposition and fight against al-Assad. Those who refuse are used as human shields in attacks on the Syrian Army and security forces. Christians, who comprise around 3 percent of Syria’s 22 million people, are also being targeted by Sunni rebels in Damascus. Rebel militias, including one called the Brigade of Islam, have been killing Christian civil servants.
Syria’s Christians are now taking up arms against the rebels, and being armed by the al-Assad regime.
“We saw what happened to the Christians in Iraq,” Abu George, a Christian resident of Aleppo’s Aziza district told GlobalPost. “What is going on in Aleppo is not a popular revolution for democracy and freedom. The fighters of the so-called Free Syrian Army are radical Sunnis who want to establish an Islamic state.”
What happened in Iraq? Since the 2003 U.S. invasion, about half of Iraq’s 1.4 million Christians have fled the country, forced out by nearly a decade of church bombings, kidnappings and sectarian murder.
In both Libya and Egypt, before the U.S. facilitated (Libya) or orchestrated (Egypt) coups, Christian minorities felt protected from Islamic persecution and were allowed to practice their faith unmolested. Now they are facing extinction.
As the U.S. regime strives for hegemony in the Middle East, Christians have become collateral damage. And no one in government seems to care.
In the years since, the problem has only gotten worse.
But somehow, especially with regard to Syria, the number of Christian refugees pales in comparison to overall “refugees.”
The U.S. accepted 12,587 Syrian refugees in fiscal year 2016, and the overwhelming majority of them were Sunni Muslims, according to data from the Refugee Processing Center. (Sunnis tend to support the rebels and oppose President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war.) Just 64 Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S., or about 0.5 percent, were Christians in fiscal year 2016. So far this fiscal year, about 1.8 percent of the Syrian refugees accepted into the U.S. were Christians.
According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 5.2 percent of the population of Syria is Christian; the CIA World Factbook puts the percentage at 10 percent.
By either figure, the number of Christian Syrian refugees is underrepresented. The question is why.
The answer goes back to what Farage said about the majority of people making their way to Europe and the U.S. from Syria being economic migrants rather than refugees.
He’s right about the danger that presents.
Because while Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is certainly not ideal, it bears remembering that the people leading the charge to topple his regime have close ties to Islamic terror groups.
Assad and his allies have been fighting back and it’s created some terrible situations across Syria involving widespread death and destruction. If you’ve watched CNN over the past couple of years, you’ve certainly seen those haunting images used as justification for the U.S. to admit more refugees from the region.
Many of the refugees fleeing the nation are simply looking for a better life. But here’s the thing… The “moderate” rebels we’ve been hearing about for the past several years turned out not to be so moderate after all. And the U.S. intelligence community has already admitted more than once that it really can’t tell the difference.
The people Assad is fighting to regain control of his country from are aligned with ISIS and other radical groups. Sure, they’re in the cross-hairs and in fear for their lives— but that’s only part of the reason some of them are heading for Europe and the U.S. Some are headed west to carry out missions on behalf of the groups with which they are aligned.
Bottom line: Assad isn’t fighting a holy war—he never was. But many of the rebels are.
The left has accused Trump of attempting to discriminate against Muslims with changes to the U.S.’s refugee policy that would, as much as legally possible, prioritize refuges applications from Christians in the region. But he isn’t; he’s simply applying the correct definition of the term “refugee.”