Are refugees a risk? Responses and resources
Following the attacks in Edmonton on September 30 2017, and the arrest of a Somali refugee as the main suspect, some people are rushing to paint refugees as dangerous.
Darren Wooff, Refugee convener for Saskatchewan Conference, suggests the following links and resources from the Canadian Council for Refugees. These offer background while laying out the case that born-in-Canada Canadians are in fact the most likely people to commit attacks that can be reasonably associated with terrorism. The United Church of Canada is a longtime and active member of the CCR.
Members of the United Church community are urged to also read the Moderator’s March 2017 reflection on racism, in which she notes, “Hatred so often has its source in fear—fear of change, fear of difference, fear of the unknown. We are all vulnerable to fear. When we are afraid we become defensive, we want to protect ourselves from real and perceived threats. The language of exclusion, the desire to draw lines between “us” and “them,” words and actions designed to dehumanize others, all are rooted in fear.
The antidote to this type of fear is love.” Read on for some good resources.
The Canadian Council for Refugees writes, “Given the events in Edmonton this past weekend, we’re seeing some media coverage and online comments professing links between refugees and terrorism.
Here are some talking points and supporting documents to help set the facts straight. Please share:
For more CCR resources on common myths and misconceptions:
Did you know… ? Facts about refugees and refugee claimants in Canada – http://ccrweb.ca/en/myths-facts
Where does the greatest risk come from? Refugees, immigrants, or people born in Canada?
• Canada faces greater risks of criminality and terrorism from those born in Canada than from refugees or immigrants:
When we have seen terrorist incidents committed in Canada, the majority of cases are Canadian citizens. If the accused in the Edmonton attack is convicted, this would be the first case of a refugee committing such attacks, out of more than 14 documented incidents since 2000. The link below is in French and is a good summary:
But what about fears about refugees?
• Refugees are people seeking security and fleeing threats to their own lives, including terrorism. See: http://ccrweb.ca/en/refugees-security
- Canada subjects all refugees entering Canada to rigorous security screening. On how refugee claimants are screened:
http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/fact-check-how-are-refugee-claimants-vetted-in-canada-1.3299585• As with the population as a whole, a tiny minority of refugees commits crimes. There is no logical connection between the fact that they arrived as a refugee and the crime. If a Torontonian commits a crime, we don’t immediately assume that Torontonians in general are more dangerous.
What about fear of Muslims?
- Most victims of ISIS are Muslims: https://www.globalresearch.ca/muslims-are-the-victims-of-between-82-and-97-of-terrorism-related-fatalities-us-government/5516565• Muslims throughout Canada consistently and repeatedly proclaim that terrorist violence is contrary to Islam:
From the National Council of Canadian Muslims: https://www.nccm.ca/nccm-condemns-brazen-attacks-in-edmonton/
From Edmonton-area Muslims: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/edmonton-attacks-condemn-islamophobia-1.4316258
See also the Moderator’s statement on Islamophobia.