Canada should welcome refugees

(Hadeel Bashar\The Aquinian)
(Hadeel Bashar\The Aquinian)
(Hadeel Bashar\The Aquinian)

When I came to STU, I found out quickly I wasn’t into the sometimes-overbearing liberal approach that the university took. Let’s be honest, some professors lean so far to the left that their shoes are worn to the left side.

I was unknowingly taught to vote conservative having grown up in a fairly conservative neighbourhood and household; although, to this day my mother won’t admit who she votes for. However, coming to STU and voting for the first time really made me step back from what I’ve grown up knowing and really made me take a collective approach.

In a sense I feel apolitical; I’m not going to get upset either way with who wins an election because at this point in my life, it really doesn’t matter all that much to me anyways. Besides this is what Canada does, we’re conservative for a while and then we hate the Conservatives so we vote Liberal and the cycle continues. All that is non-sense to me.

However, when I found out that 25,000 refugees from Syria might become Canadian citizens, it did something to me.

At the end of the day, regardless of what political party is in power, you and I can take pride in being Canadian. We are one of the friendliest countries in the world. Well at least we say sorry and thank you more than any other country in the world.

But taking 25,000 refugees seems like the right thing to do. I don’t really care if you vote red, green, blue, or orange; helping others in need is Canadian thing to do… Eh?


Flying back from Haiti last March, I remember looking out the window to see a wasteland of rotting airplanes as you leave the airport and looking over the mess of a city that they call home. All I could think when the plane was going up was, “God, I’m glad I’m getting out of here.”

That’s when my pastor leaned over and said, “you know Nate, I’ve been coming to Haiti ever since I was just 14. I’m 60 now and the feeling still doesn’t change. Every time I leave I get to think of how lucky I am to go home. But these people have to stay here. They don’t get to go back to a normal life, this is their normal life.”

This affected me much more than I’d ever imagined. I remember telling everyone in Haiti that I had got close to about all the opportunities there are in Canada. And how much I’d like to bring them back home with me. I cannot put into words the compassion I felt for these people.


Although I think Canada is great and all, historically we’ve screwed up with refugees. In 1939, when the German liner St. Louis came carrying about 900 passengers, we denied them entrance to the Havana Harbour.

The St. Louis ship was later denied entrance to the United States and returned to Hamburg, Germany. The U.S. also later denied 10,000 -mostly Jewish- refugee children. U.S. polls on January 20, 1939, showed that 61 per cent of the population was against supporting the refugees.

I think its safe to say that most of these people returned to concentration camps.

I know that comparing Jewish refugees to Syrian refugees is like comparing apples to oranges, but there still is a lesson to be taken from this.

The U.S. State Department was worried that among the refugees would be Nazi spies. Today, with the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, we are worried that some of these refugees might be radicalized-terrorists.

We should not let history repeat itself.

When some of my stereotypical ‘Conservative Christian’ friends post on Facebook about not accepting Syrian refugees because they are a security risk, I see right through it.

The Bible says twice in the book of Leviticus and once in the book of Deuteronomy about how to help foreigners and the importance of treating them as one of your own, since we too have all been foreigners to the land.

The error in this sort of reasoning is that often, political rhetoric is blindly accepted before people actually apply it to their beliefs.


Either way, whether you are a stereotypical Conservative Christian or a left-leaning liberal, don’t forget: showing love to others who don’t get the same opportunities we do is the right thing to do.

Doing the right thing should not be about making a political statement; it should be about showing love to humanity regardless of which way you vote.

So when you think of Syrian refugees coming to Canada, consider the great opportunities that they may have here and be thankful that these are the freedoms we already have.