Syrian Refugees: Obama Hits Back At Republicans, Says Terrorism Risk Is Exaggerated

Syrian refugees may suffer the harsh consequences of the rapid response policy adjustments some governments are looking to make to their refugees programs.

Following the Paris attacks last Friday, at least 27 state governors in the U.S. have declared they will block Syrian refugees, as reported by Al Jazeera. Following these announcements, several mosques have been vandalized and hate crimes perpetrated against Muslims in the United States, including Nebraska, Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, and others.

Islamophobic statements and feelings are on the rise in the U.S in particular, where amalgams between Syrian refugees and extremists terrorists are borne out of misinformation and fear. The stance taken by 26 Republican governors and one Democratic governor has helped ramp up the anti-Islam rhetoric.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration revealed a plan to welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees — on top of the 1,500 already resettled to date. But the fearmongering that’s followed the recent attacks in Paris, which left more than 120 dead and have been claimed by terrorist groups ISIS, means high-profile figures, such as presidential candidates, have no qualms in making extreme statements to get ahead.

Presidential hopeful Donald Trump took to Twitter to express his disagreement with Obama’s policies in yet another racist and hateful declaration.

But Obama hit back at the Republicans’ anti-refugees statements, saying the language that’s been used after the Paris attack has only worked to strengthen the Islamic State purpose. According the Guardian, the Obama administration has opened up about its screening system to reassure those who are worried terrorists could leak through and pass for refugees.

Speaking in the Philippines, Obama said, “We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic. We don’t make good decisions if it’s based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.”

Referring to Ted Cruz’s claim on Fox News that Christians fleeing persecution and genocide should be provided a safe haven, but that Syrian Muslims should be sent to “majority-Muslim countries,” Obama added that a religious test and a discrimination against Muslims was “offensive.”

“I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for Isil [Isis] than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate,” Obama added.

Syrian refugees seeking asylum in the United States undergo security checks, which begin in the UN camps, before being referred to multiple intelligence agencies. Currently, about half of applicants are successful.

Speaking during the Democratic debate on Saturday, Hillary Clinton promised that, if elected president, she would allow 65,000 Syrian refugees, properly vetted, into the United States.

In the meantime, an international manhunt continues in Europe for the men responsible for last Friday’s attacks, some of whom are believed to be on the run. This morning, a raid led by French authorities left two dead in Saint-Denis, near Paris. The French prosecutor has confirmed the target was Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected to be responsible for the Friday attacks.

[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]