Surprise! After secret talks, tiny Vermont town gets 100 Muslim migrants


“Louras made no apologies for excluding the public from the planning. If the proposal had been floated earlier, the mayor said, the debate would have become ‘about them’ — meaning the Syrians, their culture, and possible links to terrorism — instead of whether the city had the means to accommodate the refugees.”

Yes, and we can’t possibly have a public discussion about whether the migrants have possible links to terrorism. That would be “Islamophobic.”

“’The benefits, economically and culturally, that we will recognize is exactly what the community needs at this time,’ said Louras, the grandson of a Greek immigrant who fled the Ottoman Turks a century ago.” It has almost certainly not entered Louras’ mind that any of the people he is bringing to his town might share the world view and aspirations and goals of those who drove his grandparents out of Ottoman Turkey. Inconceivable!

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Ahmad al-Mohammed and one other of the jihadis who murdered 130 people in Paris in November 2015 had just entered Europe as refugees.

In February 2015, the Islamic State boasted it would soon flood Europe with as many as 500,000 refugees. And the Lebanese Education Minister said in September 2015 that there were 20,000 jihadis among the refugees in camps in his country. Meanwhile, 80% of migrants who have come to Europe claiming to be fleeing the war in Syria aren’t really from Syria at all.

So why are they claiming to be Syrian and streaming into Europe, and now the U.S. as well? An Islamic State operative gave the answer when he boasted in September 2015, shortly after the migrant influx began, that among the flood of refugees, 4,000 Islamic State jihadis had already entered Europe. He explained their purpose: “It’s our dream that there should be a caliphate not only in Syria but in all the world, and we will have it soon, inshallah.” These Muslims were going to Europe in the service of that caliphate: “They are going like refugees,” he said, but they were going with the plan of sowing blood and mayhem on European streets. As he told this to journalists, he smiled and said, “Just wait.”

Will they be waiting in Rutland?

Chris Louras

“Vermont city prepares for Syrian refugees with welcome, wariness,” by Craig F. Walker, Boston Globe, May 13, 2016

RUTLAND, Vt. — Marble quarries known the world over once attracted immigrants to this small city tucked beside the Green Mountains. Now, a simple quest for peace and safety is beckoning a new group.

Mayor Christopher Louras has unveiled a plan, developed in near-secrecy, to resettle 100 Syrian refugees who fled the onslaught of the Islamic State and are exiled in sprawling Jordanian camps.

If approved by the State Department and others, the resettlement would begin in October and gradually send Rutland more Syrian refugees than are currently living anywhere else in New England.

The influx would be a jolt of instant cultural diversity for Rutland, where there are no mosques and no other Syrian immigrants. Most residents appear ready to welcome the refugees, mindful of the harrowing images of Syrians desperately seeking refuge outside their ravaged country.

“They have nowhere to live,” said Jerry Dubeau, a 59-year-old who supports the move. “That’s what this country is all about. We’re all from somewhere else.”

But mingled with good wishes has been a touch of fear, and simmering anger that the decision was made behind closed doors.

“Their culture is different than ours. Their world is just different than ours,” said Chris Kiefer-Cioffi, a selectwoman in a neighboring town who worked for 27 years on the Rutland police force.

Some residents have asked whether the refugees would be inoculated, others have wondered whether a terrorist could infiltrate the group, and still more have questioned what the dollars-and-cents costs will be for caring for people arriving with little but their clothes.

Months-long discussions about whether to invite the Syrians were limited to the mayor, a small circle of city and business leaders, and a nonprofit resettlement agency. The president of the Board of Aldermen, who knew about the effort, did not tell his colleagues until a day or two before Louras announced the plans at an April 26 news conference.

“There was no benefit to anyone to spread the knowledge,” William Notte, the aldermen president, said in an interview.

Louras made no apologies for excluding the public from the planning. If the proposal had been floated earlier, the mayor said, the debate would have become “about them” — meaning the Syrians, their culture, and possible links to terrorism — instead of whether the city had the means to accommodate the refugees.

Once the logistical questions were quietly answered, Louras said, the timing was right for an announcement in this city of 16,500 people, which is 95 percent white and overwhelmingly of Eurpoean ancestry.

“I own it. I took the hits, and I’ll continue to take the hits,” Louras said recently at a downtown pig roast, where he helped dish out the pork to benefit a children’s museum.

Giving the refugees a home here will put Rutland on the right side of history, the mayor and Notte said.

“The benefits, economically and culturally, that we will recognize is exactly what the community needs at this time,” said Louras, the grandson of a Greek immigrant who fled the Ottoman Turks a century ago. “As much as I want to say it’s for compassionate reasons, I realize that there is not a vibrant, growing, successful community in the country right now that is not embracing new Americans.”…

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