The Boston Globe reported last Friday that Christopher Louras, mayor of the small Vermont city of Rutland, “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.” The plan will “gradually send Rutland more Syrian refugees than are currently living anywhere else in New England.” While the Globe is clearly pleased at Rutland’s “instant cultural diversity for Rutland,” the secrecy of the project sounded a sour note. Why should such a glorious act of “diversity” and “multiculturalism” have to be planned out in secret?
Yet instead of having a frank public discussion about the plan to bring in the migrants, according to the Globe, “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.”
Board of Alderman President William Notte explained cryptically: “There was no benefit to anyone to spread the knowledge.” No benefit? Why not? Louras was more forthcoming than Notte: the Globe stated that he “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.”
Louras also states that “the benefits, economically and culturally, that we will recognize is exactly what the community needs at this time.” The Globe then notes that the mayor is “the grandson of a Greek immigrant who fled the Ottoman Turks a century ago.”
This little detail puts this whole affair in a most interesting light: Louras almost certainly thinks that the Muslim migrants he is bringing to Rutland are the modern iteration of his grandfather or grandmother, fleeing from oppression in the old country to freedom in a new land. In reality, Louras isn’t bringing to Rutland people like his refugee grandparent. He is bringing in people who are much more like – in beliefs and outlook – the Ottoman Turks from which his grandparent was fleeing. 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!
Unfortunately, it is all too conceivable. 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?