CHARLESTON, W.Va. — About 250 people gathered at Haddad Riverfront Park Tuesday afternoon and pledged they would show love and compassion for Syrian refugees.
Speakers listed reasons for allowing the Syrian refugees, who are fleeing the devastation of civil war in their country, into the United States and West Virginia:
• They noted that while a fake Syrian passport was found near one of the attacker’s bodies in Paris last Friday, the attacker has not been identified as Syrian. National media outlets have reported the terrorist posed as a refugee and took advantage of screening measures much looser than those in the United States to enter the country.
• Speakers noted that the background checks the United States requires of refugees are the most stringent checks of any traveler to the United States. The process typically takes 18 to 24 months.
• They also noted that as West Virginia continues to lose population, the state could benefit from the contributions of an immigrant population, just as the country has since its inception.
But the common theme that emerged was a more spiritual reason for accepting refugees — the recognition of Syrians’ shared humanity, and the universal oneness that encompasses each citizen of the world…