Blaming Refugees Won’t Work

The terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris last week shouldn’t be blamed on refugees. In the aftermath of such horrific events, we must turn to love, not rejection.


Refugees deserve our help just as much as our own citizens. (Photo: Getty Images)

Refugees deserve our help just as much as our own citizens. (Photo: Getty Images)

Like many people on Friday night, I was horrified by the events that occurred in Paris. The loss of 129 innocent civilians was enough to shock anyone, and if there is one thing that is evident from the attacks, it is that Britain and France currently stand united in mourning for the individuals. I live near the Channel Tunnel, and the attacks hit home to me. However, I was shocked when I learnt that some people are blaming the attack on the rise of refugees.

Refugees are not to blame for the Paris attacks and accepting refugees will not lead to terrorism, which is not caused by us helping people fleeing from their own countries. A perfect example of this is that the Paris attack suspects are all EU citizens – only one of the current suspects is a possible refugee. We must stop antagonising those who ask us for help. Many of these refugees are fleeing so-called Islamic State themselves. It is not just us who face their horrific attempts at gaining power. These refugees are desperate, and we must treat them as the victims they are.

Blaming refugees from anywhere will not help our situation. The more we blame people, the more upset they will become. This therefore causes people to feel marginalised, and to become further disillusioned. What IS want is for us to react. They want us to blame them, to bomb them, because then they can retaliate. Then they can bomb us and declare it as revenge, make it out to be our own fault. Much like our parents taught us as young children when we experienced bullying, we cannot let it get to us. We must be defiant and continue going about our lives as normal.

We must not blame refugees – they have done nothing except experience the same pain and loss as we have. We now know how they feel, and we must welcome them. We must understand that they know our pain too. Syrian and Iraqi refugees know the damage that IS can do as well as anyone, if not better.

We must not give IS what they want. Do not start turning against Muslims, against refugees. We must promote our own idea of acceptance and equality. Let us promote the idea of peace and of being unaffected when it comes to their ideals. We should come back from the Paris attacks with strength. We must rise above these attacks and any more that may (and probably will) occur.

We must stand united with Paris. But we must never forget that we are a country of tolerance, and acceptance. (Photo: Jean Jullien)

We must stand united with Paris. But we must never forget that we are a country of tolerance, and acceptance. (Photo: Jean Jullien)

We cannot blame people at their weakest. The only people accountable are IS and the actual attackers. Refugees are currently weak and vulnerable. If we blame the weakest in our society, what does that make us? If we start blaming refugees for the actions of the very people they are trying to escape, what do we become?

France and Britain have a shared history spanning centuries. To quote a colleague, Sam Betley: “We have been the worst of enemies and the best of allies.” All of Europe has been affected by the Paris attacks, and possibly Britain more than anyone due to both our history and our proximity. It hits close to home. We naturally want revenge; it’s in our blood. But we can’t just close off our borders; stopping refugees coming into our countries just promotes Islamophobia and creates the idea that anyone who isn’t from the Western world is inferior. It stops our cultures from integrating and prevents us knowing what it’s like to help foreign people. We’ve got to accept refugees, and we’ve got to let them know that we, as ever, are a country of hope, not hatred.

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Jasmine Bennett

Political Correspondent at Filibuster
Jasmine Bennett is a 15-year-old student who does not align herself with any particular party (but places herself in the centre-left of the political spectrum) and lives in the constituency of Rochester and Strood. She is currently studying for her GCSEs, alongside two AS-Levels in creative writing and citizenship. Her interests include feminism, LGBT rights and the links between personality and politics. When not writing or arguing about politics, she can often be found enjoying classical literature and listening to a wide range of music in one of London’s many parks. She tweets @JEBennett2015.
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