Syrian Christians who immigrated to the United States and are currently living in Pennsylvania say that they agree with President Donald Trump’s controversial move to indefinitely ban Syrian refugees.
Following the issuance of Trump’s recent executive order that temporarily suspends Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States pending a review of the government’s lengthy vetting process, a group of Syrian Christians who have lived in the United States for decades offered their thoughts on the order that has caused thousands of Americans to protest at airports across the nation.
Elias Shetayh and Aziz Wehbey, originally from Syria but who now live in Allentown, Pennsylvania, after having immigrated to the U.S. years ago, discussed the banning of Syrian refugees with The Washington Post.
“Trump is right, in a way, to do what he’s doing,” Shetayh contended. “This country is going into a disaster.”
Shetayh has lived in the United States for over 46 years, while his wife, Georgette, has lived in America for 30 years and they are the owners of a restaurant in Allentown. Wehby came to the United States in 1991 and both Shetayh and Wehby are now U.S. citizens and Trump supporters.
“We would not like to bring refugees for a simple reason: We do not know their background,” Wehbey told the news organization. “We’re concerned about if, God forbid, a terrorist attack happened here . . . that we’re all labeled as bad people. I hate to say it.”
According to The Washington Post, Shetayh and Wehby’s view supporting the Syrian refugee ban is common among those in the Syrian Christian population in Allentown’s 6th ward.
Although Shetayh and other Syrian Christians who have been living in the United States for years feel that the refugee ban is an appropriate precaution to take, some of their reasoning seems to stem from the fact that 99 percent of the 12,000-plus Syrian refugees who were resettled in the U.S. in the last year have been Muslim.
“We’re not by any means prejudiced against Islam. As long as you’re a good human being, you have the right to believe whatever you want to believe,” Wehbey explained. “But the majority of the population over here are Christian Syrian. … Now they’re bringing new elements from Syria, refugees shook by a religious war. They may have hate in their heart because of whatever happened to them.”
Wehby added, “We don’t want to see a religious conflict over here.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post