Love, Fear and the Syrian Refugee

The NYTimes Daily Briefing had this to say this morning: Donald J. Trump, called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country.

At an assembly at Liberty University on Friday, Jerry Falwell Jr., under the banner “Training Champions for Christ since 1971”  said this: “If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them.” Followed by:“Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”

It seems particularly appropriate to publish this guest post written by a man who lives in Afghanistan. I first read it on a friend’s newsfeed and felt it important enough to reach out to the writer and ask for permission to publish it on Communicating Across Boundaries.


no to refugees

Love, Fear and the Syrian Refugees: My View by C.L.

Every day I live in Afghanistan I have a choice to make. Those Muslim refugees streaming to Europe, they’re friends of mine. That ISIS in far off Paris; an outpost of its caliphate is in the city next to Kabul and its minions circulate silently through my city looking for targets. I’ve lost ten friends to the Taliban extremists. Fear knocks at my door every single day. And I choose love. I would defend my family with my life if a terrorist came after my family. And I choose love. The love I choose is for the literally 99.9% of my Muslim friends who hate the extremists. It’s for the Muslim man who literally put his body between me and danger for no other reason than he cared for me as a human.

I smell fear among Christians in America. Why do I say it’s fear? Because fear breeds irrationality. Fear doesn’t listen to facts. Fear looks to others to justify itself. Fear sees conspiracies in every corner. Fear gets caught up in group-think which, in our saner moments, we would scratch our heads at and wonder how we sold our thoughts in the slave market of sheep herders.

Look, I’m not at all immune to fear myself. I was in the Afghan city of Herat during a crisis when I received a frantic call from a diplomat in the US Consulate that communicated to me that I was in imminent danger of being swept up by an angry mob seeking the blood of an American. At that very moment my entire world narrowed down into a simple, raw, laser focus of survival. That is what fear does, it preempts logic, preempts even strongly-held beliefs for the sake of survival. And that is what I see with the issue of the Syrian refugees.

In our calmer moments, how many of us believe strongly in welcoming strangers and refugees? Jesus himself was a refugee in Egypt. The Bible is full of passages that command us to welcome refugees, going so far as questioning our faith if we turn away widows, orphans and refugees. For heaven’s sake, the Pilgrims were refugees and, contrary to the myth we’ve created about them, significant numbers of them were unsavory folks escaping justice, not religious persecution.

So, we hear that 100,000 Syrian refugees are going to invade the US as a Trojan horse for ISIS. We hear that the Paris attackers were all Syrians who surreptitiously joined the hordes of mostly young, military-age men swamping the borders of Europe. It’s inevitable that the same will happen to the US because we have no good system to screen them. Panic! Fear! Does anyone realize that the “facts” that I have just stated are simply not true? But fear ignores the facts. Fear throws out deeply-held beliefs.

Choose love. There are 750,000 legal refugees who have come to our shores since 9/11 and not one of them has perpetrated a terrorist attack. That’s pretty good screening, if you ask me! And what if one terrorist did get through? Do we hate the 749,999 of them because of the one? Do we abandon our principles and beliefs and let the terrorist do exactly what he aims to do, make us lesser humans by reverting to our baser selves?

Where is Jesus in all of this? And think about this: do you realize the rejection of Syrian refugees by Christians in America is bringing shame on the name of Jesus here in Afghanistan?

Choose love. Every single day K and I make a decision to choose love and to act out from that love. If we can do it do it in Afghanistan, surely you can choose love in America too. Welcome the Syrian refugees… in love.

Note: Should you want to reach out to the author, please feel free to contact me through the comments or the about page.

Photo Credit –Edward Brown

12 thoughts on “Love, Fear and the Syrian Refugee

  1. You have shared truths everyone needs to hear Marilyn and I wish your blog could be published to a wider community.

    Thank you for your wisdom and caring,

    karen kay


  2. Mare–get permission, if you need to, to let Christine delever this post to Mr. Falwell Jr. Since I am related to both of you, I wholly support and encourage this!!! This is one of the BEST posts I have read, and please send that message back to the author. I have written and much that he has written, and even some of my good friends are skeptical– shown by silence. I feel VERY passionate about this whole conversation about Muslims. Very passionately sad and sorry for those people who feel the need to become violent. I ask: if some American Christian neighbor had befriended them, could the outcome have been different?? And passionately defensive about ALL of my Muslim sisters and brothers, who I love dearly. And passionately angry at the politicians for NOT coming out more strongly against the negative rhetoric. Where is someone, besides the President, who will get passionate about the refugee situation and block any negative legislation that might be written?? Sorry–but nothing has gotten under my skin as much as this whole situation, and we need to do all that we can to speak to those we know who are in power!!! Thank you for posting this. Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To address your question, “if some American Christian neighbor had befriended them, could the outcome have been different??” From what I understand, a Messianic Christian had spoken with the male terrorist in California.


  3. What a beautiful, rational, faithful and inspiring post . . . and even more meaningful knowing it was written from Afghanistan. What if we ALL chose love? What if every morning we actively chose love, believing it to be far more powerful a force than fear? I send love to you, CL and K, and to all there with you. Please tell them that not all Americans are ruled by fear and that many of us WILL welcome Syrian refugees with love.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you again (Juu!!) for another great post. It is saddening to see fear replace love, and not just fear, but a very ugly form of it. May we always look to Christ’s example, and His love, which casts out fear — and not look to our (very fallible) leaders, especially the political ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Is there a way to send this to Jerry Falwell Jr? Thank you CL for sharing your hard-earned perspective with us. May Jesus give us all grace to set fear aside and to love.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Marilyn, I am sure your letter got to Mr. Franklin when you wrote that awhile back. There must be a way to get this to Mr. Falwell. Maybe I can deliver it personally when I go to visit in a couple of weeks!

        Liked by 1 person

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