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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Columns

Even with appeal withdrawal, Gov. Abbott spreads Islamophobia


Gov. Greg Abbott tried to send a strong message to the rest of the country by withdrawing Texas from the federal refugee resettlement program. Now it seems that he has given up on that fight.

Abbott said the withdrawal is necessary in order to “continue to prioritize the safety of all Texans,” a laughable statement made no sense at all. He did it to raise some proud conservative flag that, he thought, represented our state, but that bigotry is dying in Texas.

U.S. was built on the backs of immigrants. Let’s continue that tradition by welcoming Syrian refugees that want nothing more than to make a positive impact to our society.

We can help

While Texas has rescinded their appeal, putting one in the first place shows that Abbott is spreading Islamophobia instead of welcoming refugees.

I refuse to give into the Islamophobia that will rage in the comment section of this column. Terrorism threatens this country and it can come from anyone at anytime — not just the Muslims coming to the U.S. for a better life.

We can’t be that stupid as a society that we will turn away these people, who are being killed and destroyed by a war they want no part of, because of an unfounded fear that their religion will make them want to harm us.

Most people don’t, or don’t care to, understand the amount of death and violence due to the civil war that has raged for over five years and claimed more than 250,000 lives in Syria.

The conflict started when the government arrested and tortured 15 school children for writing anti-government graffiti on a wall.

The government action prompted protests and eventually led to officials killing more people, followed by retaliation from rebels and more death. Among all this conflict and war are people who are suffering.

We are the greatest superpower in the world. These people need our help.

We can’t let fear mongering and bigotry decide our actions when there are people all over the world who are being terrorized by real evil. The acts of a few individuals among 1.6 billion Muslims does not define a religion.

Abbott’s withdrawal will not stop the resettlement of refugees in Texas. Not-for-profit groups still plan to settle refugees in Texas without government support since there is no law preventing people from crossing state lines once in the U.S.

Can’t cave in

Texas has already resettled 7,479 refugees as of 2015. Abbott’s fear of resettlement program makes no sense and only serves to push the stereotype that we should be scared of Muslims instead of welcoming all regardless of race or religion.

Terrorist attacks are not just done in the name of Islam like 9/11 that killed 2,996 people and was orchestrated by Osama bin Laden. We have seen countless people die, including children, at the hands of terrorists like Dylann Roof, James Holmes and Adam Lanza.

None of them have claimed Islam as their reason to kill so many.

The will to kill is something that is still completely misunderstood in our society today. It is clear, however, that anyone, despite their race, religion or creed can commit mass murder.

We need to work on things like stricter gun laws, enforcing and bolstering our current immigration laws and background checks to ensure that almost everyone entering the U.S. is here to make a positive impact.

Abbott’s statement and withdrawal will not define us. It certainly won’t stop those trying to help refugees resettle in Texas.

Don’t be scared of a religion; seek out ways to welcome these people in our country. Show them that we are not all cowards who try to push fear and hatred on to those who look and act different from us.

Opinion editor Frank Campos is a multimedia production senior and can be reached at [email protected]

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