On Syrian refugees: Risky until proven safe

Media IslamAlthough the question of Muslim refugees is no longer front page news, the Left is still keeping up the relentless drumbeat that those of us who oppose unfettered Syrian and Islamic immigration into America are racist, “Islamophobic,”* and unconstitutional.  We’re told it’s wrong of us to judge the many by the bad actions of a few and that we’re running counter to our legal system’s insistence that people are innocent until proven guilty.

This is misdirection.  We are not as a nation trying to obtain a criminal conviction against today’s immigrant because of a specific terrorist act committed by yesterday’s immigrant.  Instead, we are engaging in intelligent risk analysis which is consistent with American law and tradition, with sanity, and with national survival.  We aren’t doing anything that shames us.

That we shouldn’t be embarrassed hasn’t stopped the Left, of course, I keep seeing posts and articles by or about this good Muslim or that group of good Syrian Muslims. Today’s example, from the WaPo, is about Syrian refugees in England who helped out when floods hit:

According to reports in the Guardian newspaper and elsewhere, a group of Syrian refugees has been working in Littleborough, Greater Manchester, shoveling sand into sandbags to help avert more flooding.

“We saw the pictures on TV and wanted to help,” Yasser al-Jassem, a 35-year-old teacher, told the Guardian, adding that the people of Greater Manchester had been good to him and others in his group and that they wanted to help in response.

Good for those guys!  That’s precisely what people who have been given refuge in another land should be doing.  I wish all of them were moved by that spirit of gratitude.  I’d love to see thousands of stories precisely like that one.

In addition to the “watch these Muslims being good citizens” stories, I also keep seeing posts and articles in which Muslims state “I, personally, am a good person, so you need to get off my back and start using my example as a reason to stop judging all Muslims as potential terrorists.”  The most recent example of that phenomenon, again from the WaPo, was the stridently self-righteous post from Rana Elmir, the deputy director of the Michigan chapter of the ACLU, saying that she is not her Muslim brother’s keeper:

As an American Muslim, I am consistently and aggressively asked — by media figures, religious leaders, politicians and Internet trolls — to condemn terrorism to prove my patriotism.

I emphatically refuse.


Therefore, just as I have never been asked to condemn Dylann Storm Roof’s attack on parishioners of a historic black church in South Carolina, Robert Dear’s attack on a Planned Parenthood facility, the murder of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, or the slaughter of moviegoers in Colorado or Louisiana, I will not be bullied into condemning terror perpetrated by psychopaths who misrepresent and distort Islam for their deranged purposes.

Having established that she has no obligation to apologize, Elmir then deals herself the victim card, first pointing out (accurately) that Islam currently preys on itself more than it does on Westerners and then doing the crybaby “why are all these Westerners so mean to us?” shitck:

Muslims across the globe are not threats. They are threatened.

Muslim vulnerability is not just contained abroad. The pernicious disease that is Islamophobia is spreading at home, thanks to a steady diet of repugnant rhetoric and equally misguided policies. While the number of hate crimes reported to the FBI fell in 2014 in most categories, the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes rose, with Muslim Americans experiencing five times the number of hate crimes today than they did before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The underlying idea behind all of these types of posts and articles is that Americans, especially those who claim to be patriotic, Constitution-loving Americans, should assume that Muslims, like all other people, are innocent until proven guilty.  After all, we are the heirs of the British justice system.  It was the great British jurist William Blackstone who stated in the 18th century that, under the British theory of law, “”It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

Governed by that standard, say the Progressives, it’s appalling that racist, homophobic conservatives cast the pall of guilt over all Muslims because of the actions of just a few Muslims. But here’s the thing: We’re not casting the pall of guilt over all Muslims because of the past actions of just a few Muslims; instead, we are calculating the future terrorism risk inherent in all Muslims because of the numerous actions of a sizable number of Muslims, with those acting Muslims getting moral support from a huge percentage of their co-religionists. Just take a gander at the Islamist violence counter as of December 2015, as calculated at The Religion of Peace:

Muslim violence as of December 2015

What Western Muslims and Leftists fail to, or deliberately refuse to, understand is that the notion of “innocent until proven guilty,” and its companion idea that it’s better to free the guilty than to hang the innocent, exist in a very narrow framework: They only come into play after a crime has already been committed.  In that case, these doctrines apply to the criminal trial against an individual defendant who stands alone against the accusing might of the state with only due process to protect him. Without these sheltering common law doctrines, nothing protects the individual from a tyrannical government. As routinely happens in Leftist and Muslim nations around the world, the accused can be permanently imprisoned, tortured, and even killed, without anything standing between him and the state’s wrath and might.

The situation is entirely different with incoming Syrian and other Islamic world refugees. Those of us who object to a wholesale in-gathering of these Muslims are not contending that they are guilty of, and must be punished for, past terrorist acts. We are instead appropriately analyzing the risk that they will perpetrate future terrorist acts — and that is a perfectly acceptable analysis for a nation to make when it contemplates admitting a large group of people know that (a) around 10% of them will definitely commit violent acts against their new country and (b) that 40% – 60% of their co-religionists will support them, either by providing substantive support such as providing money, weapons, or other resources, or providing passive support by refusing to cooperate with law enforcement before, during, or after the terrorist act.

Islamic terrorism is just as dangerous an infection as Ebola — and nobody blinked twice when the US put into place all sorts of travel restrictions on people coming to America who had previously been in West Africa. In fact, Americans of most political stripes were upset that the Obama administration was so dilatory about imposing travel restrictions on people who had recent contact with West Africa.  All of us intuitively understood that, while it was unlikely that each traveler actually carried the deadly bacteria, the nation had to address the risk that each traveler could be a carrier — and it was perfectly reasonable to put systems in place to protect against a risk that, while small, had the potential to create deadly outcomes.

The primary reason Donald Trump has earned such unending loyalty from his supporters (and I do not count myself in that number) is that he has stated forthrightly that we as a nation have to address the risk inherent in Muslim immigration.  Doing that is not racist, Islamophobic, or unconstitutional.  It is, instead, a basic sovereign function.  Because he has spoken so clearly on this subject, and refused to back down despite ridicule from the drive-by media, many conservative Americans are willing to overlook the fact that Trump’s basic political beliefs are much closer to Hillary’s than to their own.**  It turns out that there’s something strangely attractive to voters about a candidate who cuts through the cognitive dissonance on a pressing subject and speaks the truth.


*I put quotation marks around “Islamophobia,” because a “phobia” is an irrational fear — and it’s entirely rational to fear Islam’s excesses in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and America.

**Ted Cruz, the candidate I support, has had a true love affair with the Constitution dating back at least to his undergraduate days.  I don’t care that he’s very calculating about his run for the White House.  I don’t care that, as a Senator, he’s made a few compromises in pursuit of a larger constitutional goal.  And I especially don’t care that his fellow Senators, most of whom have only a passing acquaintance with and fondness for the Constitution, don’t like him.  As someone who believes that the Constitution is the greatest political document ever written, and that it is the political contract that is most likely to bring about individual liberty and prosperity, I support Cruz all the way.