Terrorists and the Refugee Battleground

BUDAPEST – Europe and the United States should open their doors to Syrian and Iraqi refugees. They are the victims of the Islamic State and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime. Terrorism has destroyed their homelands. Not only is offering them refuge the right thing to do; it is also good for our security.

The Islamic State’s attacks in Paris in November were designed to produce fear by bringing the group’s crimes against humanity into the heart of Europe; and politicians, by equating refugees with terrorists, are pandering to it. Razor-wire fences and political barriers are being erected in the path of asylum-seekers.

In the battle for hearts and minds, branding refugees as security threats – as politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are doing – only fuels intolerance and gives terrorists a potent recruitment tool to convince young Muslims that the West has no place for them.

This is a battle of values that we should be winning. Modern Europe was built on the ashes of World War II and the Holocaust. Europe’s values – and those of its principal postwar sponsor, the US – are tolerance, diversity, and human rights.