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News Syrian refugees - the straight dope?

  1. Sep 19, 2015 #1


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    I am getting an alarming amount of hatred directed toward the Syrian Refugees. Enough that I am no longer convinced I know both sides of the story.

    I certainly get a lot of rhetoric about people not wanting their culture to take over ours (i.e. Canada), but not a lot of objective facts.

    Are they making demands about where, how and under what law they live if/when they come here?

    (This is Canada, and we are multi-cultural, so I'm trying to suss out what is truly the jeopardy here from what is merely garden-variety racism).

    I'm not looking for personal opinions, I'm looking for references to factual accounts of these demands, by these refugees.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2015 #2


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    11 foot poles are now available in the lobby for a nominal cost ....
  4. Sep 19, 2015 #3


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    Well, look at the problems the French are having with immigrants as a good example of how immigrants refused to adopt to their new country and insist on their old ways, their dress codes, their laws.

    Are you just wanting information on the current flood of immigrants?
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015
  5. Sep 19, 2015 #4


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    Here're three bulk searches to take with a certain amount of salt. There's also the "sanctuary" question, and a mixed bag of information.
    Next weekend's scheduled for trip to old stomping grounds, supposedly taken over and fast going down the toilet --- it'll give me some idea --- no more than anecdotal evidence for you.
  6. Sep 20, 2015 #5
    It takes time for a group of immigrants to assimilate into a strange culture. I would guess that it normally takes about three generations, but will bow to scientific studies on the matter. My wife was born in Detroit, but spoke only Polish until she started school--and her parents had been in the US for fifty years at that time. Strongly ethnic city neighborhoods and rural regions have always been a normal part of the American scene--giving it much of its color and vibrancy.

    I have lived in the Arab World and should hate to see anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry join anti-semitism and racial prejudice.
  7. Sep 20, 2015 #6
    The problem I see here in Belgium is that they plan to build camps where the refugees will live for a while.
    But how can we expect them to merge into society? If you are (basically) treated as an outsider, don't you figure its better to stick with people of your own culture?
    This can take on extreme sizes, my town has about 5000 inhabitants.

    The government is looking at the possibility to relocate about 800 refugees to an abandoned military base. That's almost 20% of the "native" population.

    I understand the appeal of this as they only have to open half a dozen of these camps to "solve" the issue of housing.
    The important part however is integration, which isn't touched on perhaps even ignored.
  8. Sep 21, 2015 #7


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    Similarly, my mother was born in the UP of Michigan, moved to Ohio with my grandparents, and spoke only Finnish until she started school around 1920. In Ohio, they lived in a small neighborhood whose residents were almost all Finnish immigrants, with a social hall and church.
  9. Sep 21, 2015 #8
    I remember seeing this movie, which sheds some light on the situation with Muslim immigrants.
    The problem is not necessarily with the refugees who are coming right now, as it is not the problem with the immigrants who came seeking jobs in the UK - it's their children or grandchildren who feel their parents have lost direction and feel the need to be more connected to Islam.
  10. Sep 21, 2015 #9


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    Toronto Sun: 35% of Canadian Muslims would not repudiate Al-Qaida; 62% of Canadian Muslims want "some form" of Sharia law instituted in Canada.

    I can't quickly locate opinion polls about Syria on the subject, but in its neighbor Jordan, among those who say Sharia should be the law of the land: 67% favor stoning for adultery, 57% favor whipping and cutting off hands for theft, 82% favor the death penalty for converts away from Islam.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
  11. Sep 21, 2015 #10

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    And what does the host society do in the meantime? Certainly accepting their parents into the country didn't generate enough good will to stop Mohammed Bouyeri from killing. Or Cherif and Said Kouachi. Or Amedy Coulibaly. Or Mohammed Merah - who killed kids, for heaven's sake.
  12. Sep 22, 2015 #11
    The numbers are indeed quite disturbing. However, I think the study should be taken with a pinch of salt. Many muslims would feel obliged to show support for Hudud (the part of Shariah that's concerned with the barbaric nonsense) so that they don't admit to themselves they contradict the Quran (in case of the punishment for theft) or authentic Hadith (in case of adultery and apostasy). It doesn't necessarily mean they want to actively implement this garbage. I've never heard of any protest in Jordan or Syria demanding that stoning should be a law, or even something relatively benign as delegalising Alcohol, which you can easily buy in both Jordan and Syria.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015
  13. Sep 22, 2015 #12


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    I'm not sure I know what you are after. Refugees are never in any position to make demands, only requests (pleas), so I can't imagine what that might be referring to. But your mentioning of Canada being multi-cultural implies the discussion you are having/seeing is of general immigration impacts, which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with refugees since refugees are essentially by definition exceptions to normal immigration policy and do not require alterations to existing policies. However, both what to do about refugees and the larger immigration policy issues are mostly opinion-based, so the facts are rarely what the arguments about.

    Case in point is the "melting-pot" analogy of multi-culturalism in the US, which would likely apply in Canada. That implies total assimilation (the result would be a homogeneous mixture of cultures). Another model used is the "tossed salad", which is self-contained groups of cultures mixed together without overlapping. The historical reality has been somewhere in between. In my opinion, calls for steering the model closer to the "melting pot" lose sight of the fact that in a free society, people are entitled to associate with who they choose to, wear what they want and speak whatever language they want, to within fairly broad limits. We're not going to try to force-ably de-segregate China Towns and Amish communities, are we? The only "assimilation" I think is really required is learning English, for reasons of practicality, but even that has its limitations (again, for practicality). In Quebec, French dominates and near the Mexican border, accommodation for Spanish speakers makes sense. I just don't favor heroic measures to ensure communicability.

    That said, the issue of what to do about the refugees is difficult because refugees may have different goals from normal immigrants. Some may want to live permanently in their new country and IMO should generally be converted to normal immigrant status and some may want to return to their home country after it settles-down, and they should be given some temporary accommodation accordingly. The difficulty is in deciding how long "temporary" is and how much accommodation they should be given: if a normal immigrant should be expected to find a job and contribute to society, why not a "refugee"?
  14. Sep 22, 2015 #13
    I think it is obvious these refugees are actually immigrants to Canada, the US or north European countries - They choose to come there as opposed to going to nearer locations because of the quality of life these places hold.
    It's not like there is no other place for them to go to.
    Since this is the case I would expect them to try to find jobs, and to be deported in case they do not follow the local law.
    The big problem in Canada and the US is that the children they would have while there will be citizens, who could not be deported, thus creating a big problem in case they decide they don't respect the local authorities (as happens with some of them).
  15. Sep 22, 2015 #14


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    I believe the big one is that they expect to live under Sharia Law when they settle. I think the "demands" of refugees are getting muddled with demands of already-settled immigrants.

    Mostly it has to do with what happens when they settle, and whether they are entitled to keep their cultural lifestyle distinct and segregated. A lot of people seem to feel that Canada is a "melting pot" like America (meaning immigrants are obliged to fully integrate).

    Heh. Good point.
  16. Sep 22, 2015 #15
    If we're speaking about Syrian refugees then I highly doubt it, since Sharia is not implemented in Syria* apart from legislations regarding family matters (marriage, divorce, etc...) and Syrians never really seemed too bothered about it.

    *Unless of course you mean the areas occupied by ISIS, but that's exactly what they're fleeing from.
  17. Sep 22, 2015 #16
    Giving such benefit of the doubt always amazes me. Would you also say the same thing, if the situation were reversed? If 82% of Americans would say you straight in the face, when you ask them about it, they'll say that if you become a muslim you should be killed. Would you then say, that well yes, they do say that, but how many will really start killing? Or that they felt obliged to say it (obliged? felt obliged? we are talking about killing other people). Would you take it with a pinch of salt? Would you downplay the issue or would you do your best to raise the seriousness of it?
    These are the most extreme views and nobody should tolerate it or accept people like these into their countries. You can't have a civilization with views like these, that if you don't agree with me, you must be killed.
  18. Sep 22, 2015 #17
    Yes these views are extreme and barbaric and no one should tolerate them. They should be criticised and ridiculed no doubt. I am not trying to downplay the ideas, I have more reasons than most to be concerned about the punishment for apostasy. But the reason I'm giving the people the benefit of the doubt is just because I know from personal experience that there's a level of hypocrisy when they discuss these matters. This is apparent from the fact in countries like Jordan and Egypt, where the quoted poll shows majority public support for such barbaric punishments, no serious attempts have been made by the public to actually implement them. The OP asked what the refugees are demanding. I was just pointing out that the connection from the poll results to what they may actually demand is not straightforward, since they didn't even demand such laws in their country of birth.
  19. Sep 22, 2015 #18
    As Jordan and Egypt are secular dictatorships, these people weren't exactly in a position to demand such laws. When Egypt became briefly democratic, the Muslim Brotherhood took power
  20. Sep 22, 2015 #19
    Exactly! Even when the MB ruled for a year they didn't dare to implement any of this stuff. There was always a public uproar at the slightest hint they may change any of these legislations.
  21. Sep 22, 2015 #20


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    Let me start off by the saying that the Toronto Sun is the Canadian equivalent of the populist "yellow journalism" of the type represented by Fox News in the US, so it's important not to draw too many conclusions from reports from that newspaper.

    At any rate, if you actually read the article, the polling firm that had reported its findings interviewed 455 Muslims in Ottawa and queried them on a number of questions about religion and society. My first question is whether or not the 455 Muslims in Ottawa is somehow truly representative of the Muslim communities across Canada (is this a representative sample). Is this population taking account of recent immigrants, or Canadian-born Muslims? The reporting doesn't make any distinction.

    Second of all, how a question is phrased or worded can have a major impact on how respondents will respond. So what does it mean when 62% of Canadian Muslims (really, 62% of Muslim respondents from Ottawa) favour "some form" of Sharia law? Sharia law isn't one fixed set of law but a collection of various interpretations of jurisprudence on daily life for Muslims (much of which is identical to the old Mosaic law outlined in the Old Testament followed by the ancient Israelites, and various aspects of which are followed to this day by Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews in their own communities), some of which are restricted strictly to civil cases like marriage, divorce, and family inheritance, while others are more extensive into aspects of criminal matters. So when a respondent favours "some form" of Sharia law, it may well be the case that they could be simply supporting Muslim jurisprudence on domestic or civil matters, in much the way Orthodox Jews follow their own laws on civil matters through the rabbinical courts. We shouldn't necessarily assume that support for Sharia in Jordan would necessarily translate to specific support for, say, being in favour of stoning in Canada or the US.
  22. Sep 22, 2015 #21
    The army staged a coup, and jailed the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Many of those leaders are facing long jail terms or the death penalty
  23. Sep 22, 2015 #22


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    To the OP:

    Like yourself, I live in Canada (Toronto, to be more specific), and while I am not aware of any specific hatred directed toward Syrian refugees within the city, I am alarmed by the amount of hatred directed toward these people online (even accounting for the fact of trolls merely posting to provoke reactions). I understand you want to seek more facts about what the refugees are demanding, but to me this seems to be the wrong question.

    The Syrian refugees, like refugees across the world, are fleeing and seeking asylum because of war -- in the case of Syrians, the Syrian civil war where the people are caught between the brutality of the remnants of Bashar Assad's Baathist party who have committed atrocities against their political appointments, and jihadist groups like Islamic State (ISIS) who control large parts of the country and committed acts of barbarism in their attempts to enforce their own extreme interpretations of Islam, often against other Muslims who disagree with them. The only demand that I can gather is to seek safety and safe haven somewhere, anywhere, and European countries (and also countries like Canada, US, Australia, etc.) offer the greatest promise for that safety and safe haven.

    BTW, it is worth pointing out that the an estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes, and the largest number of Syrian refugees, based on reports from UNHCR, are currently located in neighbouring countries like Turkey (with approximately 2 million), Lebanon (with over 1.1 million, something like 25% of the population of the entire country), and Jordan (with approximately 628,000). See link below.


    By contrast, currently 150000 Syrians have declared asylum in the EU, with member states pledging to resettle another 33000 refugees, a tiny number. Canada has recently pledged to settle about 15000 Syrians. Here are some additional links.


    It's also worth pointing out that Syria is a religiously and ethnically diverse country, and the refugees are not unanimously Muslim -- Syria has historically had a large Christian minority (including an Armenian community, descended from those who have fled the Armenian genocide in what is now Turkey back in the early 20th century), as well as a community of Druzes (a unique faith combining Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, with communities in Syria, Lebanon, and northern Israel). There is little doubt that many of the refugees would include members of these communities.
  24. Sep 22, 2015 #23
    The army staged a coup after millions took to the streets, and I wouldn't support the hundreds of politically charged death sentences if I were you. Anyway, none of that was because the MB tried to pass a law in favour of stoning the adulterer for example, so I don't know really what are you disputing at this point. I have to stop derailing the thread off topic.
  25. Sep 22, 2015 #24
    In a speech Mohamed Morsi gave in Cairo on May 13, 2012 he declared: “The Koran is our constitution. The Prophet Muhammad is our leader. Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration.” Then, Morsi proclaims “This nation will enjoy blessing and revival only through the Islamic sharia [law].” He adds: “I take an oath before Allah and before you all that regardless of the actual text [of the current Egyptian constitution], Allah willing, the text will truly reflect sharia law, as will be agreed upon by the Egyptian people, by the Islamic scholars, and by legal and constitutional experts. Rejoice and rest assured that these people will not accept a text that does not reflect the true meaning of the Islamic sharia as a text to be implemented and as a platform. The people will not agree to anything else.”

    He than actually did what he said he'd do.
    Just before the referendum that made the draft of the constitution into the real thing, Slate reports
    "for years, Islamists had argued that Article 2 of the prerevolution constitution, which made “the principles of Islamic law the main source of legislation,” wasn’t strong enough. The new constitution preserves the old language, but now contains a new article, that defines the “principles of Shariah” in the very strict terms of Muslim Sunni jurisprudence."
    And though Article 81 of the new constitution does declare that “citizens rights and freedoms are inalienable and cannot be suspended or reduced,” it then goes on to say that these freedoms can only be practiced “as long as they don’t contradict the principles set out in the section on state and society in this constitution.” This is a long way of saying that Egyptians are free, as long as they don’t violate the government’s interpretation of Islamic law.

    Similarly, whereas the old constitution contained an article prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender (among other things), the new constitution removes any mention of women as a protected class. Instead, it views women primarily as mothers (or potential mothers), declaring in Article 10 that the state will help “reconcile the responsibilities of the woman toward her family and her public work.” And though the constitution contains the requisite language guaranteeing freedom of speech, it places religiously defined limits on that speech. For example, Article 44 prohibits anyone from insulting prophets of the Abrahamic faiths, leaving undefined what precisely constitutes an “insult.” And Article 48, which regulates freedom of the press, says that the press is free only as long as it doesn’t contradict the principles on which the state and society are based—meaning the principles of Shariah."
    "in a nationally-representative survey conducted by one of the authors in November 2011, 67 percent of the more than 1,500 Egyptians polled disapproved of the idea of having a female president (with 30 percent believing women were unsuited for any public position); 80 percent believed the Egyptian government should set up a council of religious scholars to ensure that law conforms to the Shariah; and 75 percent approved of the idea that religious authorities should be allowed to censor the media."
  26. Sep 22, 2015 #25
    What gave you the impression that I support politically charged death sentences? Describing recent history isn't the same thing as endorsing it.

    I'm still mostly disputing your assertion that, since Jordan and Egypt don't currently have shariah law, Jordanians and Egyptians aren't in favour of shariah law. Jordan and Egypt are dictatorships. Dictatorships that are majority Muslim may not have shariah law on their books, but it's very possibly what a large fraction of their citizens want. It's completely reasonable to be concerned with the idea that, once citizens of a prosperous democracy, the 800 000 refugees that Germany has pledged to take in will still want shariah law. There may be a bit of a culture clash.
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