I believe the United States is in the midst of making a major and very damaging mistake in relationship to ISIS. That's because we are doing exactly what they want us to do to play into their apocalyptic endgame.
Therein lies the reality of our world -- we have collectively created the conditions where millions of people are taking flight from war torn corners of the world where conflict has become all too normal, and life is no longer possible in a rewarding way.
Throughout history, we haven't always reciprocated generosity, as seen by how we've treated our native neighbors. That shouldn't preclude us from giving thanks to them now, and from continuing to be welcomers ourselves.
In Toronto, the community event Supper with Syria, is a social experiment to allow Syrians, some of whom are refugees, to become co-creators of the narratives on Syria and refugees, by showcasing their culture and their stories.
Bringing down the monster won't be easy or happen quickly, even in the best-case scenario. It won't happen at all if we deny refuge to victims of Islamic State terror abroad and demonize Muslim-Americans at home. We're better and smarter than that -- or at least we should be.
The xenophobic bill passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday is policymaking by committee of the worst kind. It creates additional bottlenecks at the top of our security agencies and reeks of nationalistic politics, all while stoking an irrational fear of Iraqis and Syrians.
The thin child with big sad eyes and a braid hanging down her back, the one holding a bag containing all her worldly possessions with one hand, and with the other she clutches her baby brother: that refugee girl was once me.
Sixty million people. It's a number that's nearly impossible to wrap your mind around. This is the estimated number of individuals forced to relocate within their country or uproot their lives in a new country, according to the UNHCR.
I've never had the privilege of visiting Idaho so I can't say that I know you. I don't know your specific fears or experiences and I would never presume to minimize or dismiss them. All I can say is that we're all Americans, and we share the ability to talk to each other with an open mind and an open heart.
These dismal, cowardly responses by our nation's leadership are reverberations of precisely what the perpetrators of the Paris attacks have sought: to trigger terror in the hearts and minds of ordinary people.
Fear is a powerful drug. Those who would act out of fear (and in some cases political opportunism and bigotry) have disregarded the lessons of WWII and the world's shame at the treatment of refugees, especially Jewish refugees, who were turned away and sent back to death at the hands of the Nazis.
I suppose that accepting the truth may reveal that perhaps we are a little selfish and maybe that's not something we truly wish to know about ourselves. Lack of empathy for fellow human beings, is not only because they are far away, but it is because of how we inform ourselves.
Remember: facts are like Kryptonite to conservatives. Study this guide, and you will know all you need to know to shut down the misinformation and ill-formed opinions.
These are sacred lands, they say, and your hands are dirty. But my porch light is always on. My door is always open.
In the wake of terror we must similarly hold our heads up and show the terrorists that they cannot break us or sour our freedoms. Our mettle is being tested, and we cannot be seen to be brittle.
You will not know what it is like to be here through this article; you will not feel it in your heart until you hand a child a pair of socks or give an elderly woman sitting outside of the grocery store your spare change. Until you see dozens of them sitting on the ground of the metro station, soaked through and trying to escape the rain, you can't know how it feels to live alongside these people.