Islamaphobia Is Not The Answer, Governor

Islamaphobia Is Not The Answer, Governor
Nick BrothersThe Free Weekly Managing Editor

Nick Brothers
The Free Weekly Managing Editor

This past Monday, Nov. 16, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that he will oppose entry to Syrian refugees to Arkansas.

His statement comes along with 15 other states with the same sentiment. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called upon the U.S. to act in a similar fashion to his anti-refugee policy. The State Department said it would not change its plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year.


Now, Islamaphobia makes sense from a stereotypical point of view. It’s much, much easier (some would argue safer) to categorize people. In this case, Gov. Hutchinson categorized an entire group of people as threats before knowing anything about who they were other than their nationality.

Whenever I hear about these reactionary statements, I can’t help but think to myself that the terrorists won in this regard. Due to the militants’ heinous actions, they’ve pitted the world against the religion. They’ve altered society. The world changed on 9/11. It’s looking like the world’s gonna take another big step.

When we disregard the needs of our fellow people out of fear, that only leads to isolation, closed-mindedness and animosity. Now, more than ever, is our chance to show we truly are a country of valor and compassion.

Look, governor. I understand you want to keep a certain image as a politician who’s tough on immigration and hard on terrorism. I do. I understand that Republicans distrust most all Muslims. The GOP has been clear about that.

Donald Trump has been clear about how he’d like to bomb the hell out of every trace of ISIL in the Middle East without batting an eye if he had the power to. The people at his speech cheered. Maybe it’s a stretch to include those same people as the the ones who voted for Hutchinson (probably not), but those voters are likely one in the same with the ones A-Hutch wants to keep around. Please excuse my generalizations.

I realize these are harrowing times where extremists have adopted advanced methods of terror. I do not blame those who are reactionary, and seek to protect by all means. I do not agree with their reactions, but I’ve got to believe there is a better way to approach such situations that do not involve such cold policy.

But seriously — this column included — has anybody read ANY opinion pieces about Islamaphobia? I don’t want to sound like a broken record here, but not all Muslims are terrorists. In fact, a sparse amount engage in such behavior. Christians look at their own extremists as outcasts or lone wolves. They don’t represent the entire group, they say. Can’t any rational person draw the same conclusion about the terrorists that associate themselves with Islam that they do not represent the 1.25 billion people on Earth of the Muslim faith?

Apparently, our head of state is not one of those people.

God help us if we ever have to flee America from such a horrendous thing as terrorists driving us from our homes — the very hell these people are living through — and the people of the world turn their backs on us.

We are dealing with a very real crisis in the world, and we’re arguing about if human beings are good or safe enough to coexist near us on land within our man-made borders. I know, this all sounds like bleeding-heart-liberal stuff. Really, it’s more than that. This crisis goes beyond political lines. Shame on anyone who would make this out to be as such.

Situations like this test humanity. For those who live their lives in black and white, I’ll boil it down. It’s a matter of choosing compassion or fear.

Excuse my philosophy for a moment, but maybe the only thing worthwhile in this world is how we choose to help other people. To garden that “good” feeling that seems to sprout up when someone sincerely says thank you or I love you.

Should we blindly welcome all immigrants? No, that is not what I’m saying. I’m saying these human beings deserve the human right to seek refuge from evil, and while it is important to ensure our domestic safety, we can serve both interests with a reasonable, prejudice-free method of accepting immigrants. Not outright denying them the chance. And God forbid, if they decide they want to stay, there should be an attainable, fair path to citizenship.

Need I remind people like Gov. Hutchinson, we are a nation of immigrants. That is what makes us so darn cool.

Thanks for reading.

15 states called for closing their borders.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin
Categories: Commentary