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Answering the Trump Ban on Refugees

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Facebook has been on fire about Trump’s recent ban on refugees.  Some people love the idea of keeping refugees out, especially those from Muslim countries.  Some people can’t believe this is happening in America.

For those that are appalled by this action, is any of this really that surprising?  I mean, come on.  As a regular ol’ American, how many refugees do any of us really know?  Or asked another way, how many Muslims do most of us coming from a Christian background actually know.  Sure, maybe you work with someone from a Muslim background, but do you really know them?  I would dare say that the answer, for most people, is that we actually know few to none.

I can say this because this is my story as well.  I now live in Catania, Italy and am around refugees from a Muslim background very frequently.  I know from experience that an extremely high percentage of the people that I come into contact with are just regular people.  They just want to not be caught in violence, or have a better life in some way.  In many ways, I enjoy hanging out with these people from a refugee and Muslim background as much, if not more, than many others that I am connected with.

But that wasn’t always the case.  I can’t say that I really *knew* too many Muslim people when I lived in America.  I can’t say that I spent a lot of time with refugees while there.  In fact, the majority of my experience with people from a Muslim background while I lived in America was what the media told me, and what the media told me was that buildings were blowing up and falling down, that people were being shot, that wars were happening and many good people were dying trying to fight back against the militant Islamic people.

Our brains quickly generalize.  We easily think that all Muslims come from a militant background and are the same, no matter who you are talking about.

Most of us know that isn’t true, but as long as we don’t personally have any examples to the contrary, we aren’t able to actually make a dent in the fear that leads to situations like refugees being cut off from America.

So I’m directly speaking to the people who are appalled by what they are seeing in the politics in America.  If you truly do not like what you are seeing, you have an opportunity to begin making a difference.  You can start the process of changing what you do not like.  Not by posting your opinions on Facebook.  Not by sharing the next news article.  In my opinion, none of those things make any difference at all.  It isn’t about making your voice heard, it is about taking action.  If you are so offended, here are some ideas:

  • Figure out where there are refugees in the area, especially those that come from a Muslim background.
  • Deliberately go and meet them.  Spend time with them.  Get to know them.  Share your life with them.
  • Take someone else with you and teach them to do the same thing.

If you want to actually make a difference, you have to lead the way.  You must act, and it will be personal.  If you do that, and take some other people and teach them to do the same thing, you will make a difference.  That is how you will affect the politics that you are seeing now.  You can make a change for the future.  I believe this is the way forward that will make a difference.

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