Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Syrian refugees - the straight dope?

  1. Sep 19, 2015 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    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


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

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


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    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


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    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


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    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


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    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

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    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


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    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


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    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


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    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.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads - Syrian refugees straight Date
News A new route for refugees and migrants to Europe Oct 23, 2015
News EU and refugee crisis part 2 Sep 4, 2015
News Applying scientific methods to solve syrian war Apr 3, 2015
News Iraqi unrest, Syrian unrest, and ISIS/ISIL/Daesh Jun 12, 2014
News Syrian-less Lebanon Jun 10, 2005