Gad Saad is a Canadian professor and author who explores evolutionary behavior; he's also a refugee, having fled Lebanon at the age of 11 with his parents. Sunday, he posted a message on Facebook regarding President Trump's immigration and refugee executive order:
"At the basis of a country's immigration policy is the recognition that a country has the right to pursue its interests first and whenever it wishes to be altruistic and humane, this is instantiated without ever risking the danger of its citizens and/or its cultural values. A country does not need to cede an inch of its sense of security. It does not need to place a single of its citizens at risk.
As such, it is unclear how to strike the right balance between suicidal empathy (and associated faux-liberal platitudes) and ill-informed xenophobic rigidity. But somewhere between these two end points of the continuum lies the optimal policy. Those who wish to find that balance are valuable members of this great debate. Those who exist on the two endpoints are enemies of liberty in their idiosyncratically dogmatic ways."
Many Democrats and Republicans are disturbed by President Trump's executive order. Senators Ben Sasse (R-NE), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Todd Young (R-IN) all issued statements condemning either the executive order as a whole, or its execution. Senator Flake wrote:
"President Trump and his administration are right to be concerned about national security, but it's unacceptable when even legal permanent residents are being detained or turned away at airports and ports of entry. Enhancing long term national security requires that we have a clear-eyed view of radical Islamic terrorism without ascribing radical Islamic terrorist views to all Muslims."
Senator Young added:
"The federal government has no more important responsibility than protecting the American people, and refugees from any country should only be permitted to enter the United States if we are certain they do not represent a threat to our citizens. I look forward to carefully analyzing this temporary executive order and its effects, and working with this new administration and my colleagues in Congress to keep America safe while finally ending the unspeakable suffering of the Syrian people. I want to ensure that the administration's new policy allows Iraqis and Afghanis who faithfully supported our troops and who face threats to their safety--and who do not represent a terrorist threat--are able to come to the United States."
There are flaws in President Trump's executive order, as well as significant defects in its implementation. However, the histrionics being seen across social media and in physical protests distract from the clear and present danger the executive order was allegedly meant to thwart.
There's a thread that runs through the majority of American terror attacks. Little Rock, Fort Hood, Boston, Garland, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Orlando, St. Cloud, Seaside Park, New York City, and Columbus--all of these attacks, occurring between 2009 and 2016, were committed by devotees of radical Islam.
This thread is easily seen, but ignored by many. Some who look the other way are afraid of being labeled "Islamophobic"; others are concerned that if they publicly identify the threat, their utterance will be used as a weapon to discriminate against and harm the millions of moderate Muslims living in the United States. Conversely, there are some who incorrectly attribute the characteristics and actions of this subset of Islamic terrorists to all Muslims.
We know that the system by which we vet refugees and other immigrants is defective. Using a few simple lies, radical Iraqi refugees, Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab and Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, were able to cheat the system and gain entry into the United States. As The Daily Wire previously reported via Dallas News:
Al Hardan allegedly planned "to set off bombs at the two Houston malls, including the popular Galleria mall...[and] was also learning how to make electronic transmitters that could be used to detonate improvised explosive devices."
Jessica Vaughn, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), noted that Al-Jayab and Al Hardan were most likely radicalized prior to entering the United States:
"[Al-Jayab and Al Hardan] were interested and involved in terrorism before they came here, and our so-called great vetting system, that obviously isn’t as great as the Obama administration claims, did not pick up on it."
Even high-ranking intelligence officials acknowledge the weaknesses in our vetting system. During his October 22, 2015, testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, FBI Director James Comey said: "The challenge we face with Syria is that we don't have that rich set of data. So even though we've gotten better at querying what we have, we certainly will have less overall. And so as I said to a question earlier, someone only alerts as a result of our searches if we have some record on them. That's the challenge we face with Syria."
Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper noted in September 2015 that the Islamic State could place "operatives among...refugees," and that such a thing was "a huge concern."
We have an identifiable problem: Radical Islamic terrorists. We need a solution to this problem that is both constitutional and effective. As Gad Saad wrote, there are two ends of the spectrum. On one end, you have progressives espousing "suicidal empathy," refusing to acknowledge the role radical Islam plays in terrorism. On the other end, you have individuals who ascribe to all Muslims the atrocities of the religion's most extreme elements.
There is a middle ground in which the threat of radical Islam is publicly recognized, and is dealt with in a way that doesn't unduly harm moderate Muslims. Trump is too blunt to find such a solution, but others who are sharper, whose intellect is keener, should work to develop a solution.
First, however, progressives must lay down their shield, and speak the name of the devil, radical Islam.