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Tue Sep 22, 2015, 10:52 AM

"Like the Syrians, I fled my country. Here’s what you don’t understand about refugees."

In much of America, Syrian refugees are seen as threats, not victims. In February, the House Homeland Security Committee chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), said that accepting Syrians would create a “federally funded jihadi pipeline” to the United States. In June, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) called a hearing on the issue, arguing that terrorist groups might use refugee programs “to carry out attacks in Europe and America.” Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has agreed, warning that we have to be “very careful about who we let enter this country.”

These arguments fundamentally misunderstand what it means to be a refugee. Abandoning your home during wartime is not a choice or a political opportunity. It’s a survival instinct, a frantic attempt to protect yourself and your children from violence, starvation or death.

This is a reality I know only too well. Sixteen years ago, I was forced to flee Kosovo after the Serbian military burned my house to the ground. That experience taught me just how desperate life can be for a refugee and how important it is to treat asylum seekers with kindness and grace.

Whole Washington Post op-ed from Mikra Krasniqi here

x-posted to Good Reads

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