The Washington Times
November 25, 2015
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“Apparently, they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion.” That was President Obama speaking in the Philippines this week, criticizing Republican presidential candidates for their concerns about the program resettling Syrian refugees in the United States.
It’s hard to think of a comment that more perfectly captures the willful blindness of our elites toward the threat of Islamist terrorism.
The President made the remarks just days after the attacks in Paris were carried out by at least one person who infiltrated the country pretending to be a refugee from the conflict in Syria. And Obama’s comment came just hours before Turkey announced it had arrested 8 ISIS terrorists who were planning to travel to Germany posing as Syrian refugees.
Clearly the concern President Obama was mocking is far from a laughing matter. On the contrary, it’s his flippant dismissal of the threat that is delusional.
His intended point was misguided enough. But the specific examples he chose were even more revealing of his lack of understanding–intended as they were to accuse Republicans of being afraid of women and children.
Unfortunately for the President’s alternative version of reality, not long after he made his crack, French police launched a raid on an apartment associated with the Paris attacks, resulting in the death of a female jihadist inside the flat.
Her name was Hasna Aitboulahcen, and what we know about her so far illustrates exactly what is so dangerous about the virulent ideology that is attacking Western civilization.
Hasna was not exactly your stereotypical portrait of a terrorist. Her friends and family described her as a “party girl” who drank alcohol and had multiple boyfriends. As the Washington Post reports:
Lately, she had taken to calling herself a jihad fanatic. Last June, she posted a photo of herself in a niqab with the caption (using French shorthand): “I will soon go to syria [sic] inchallah [God willing] soon I will leave for turkey.”
That an “outgoing French girl” can turn quickly into a violent jihadist who apparently aided in the Paris attacks tells us how powerful and unpredictable the ideology can be–drawing in not just angry, young and underprivileged Middle Eastern men, but also Parisian girls who were thought to have “loved life.”
President Obama was hardly on stronger ground when he mocked Americans for concerns about even children coming from Syria. The perpetrators of one of the most famous recent terror attacks on U.S. soil, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev–Islamist terrorists who set off bombs at the Boston Marathon in 2013–came to the United States child asylum seekers. A relatively normal childhood in America did not prevent them from being radicalized.
That President Obama dismisses the potential threat from terrorists posing as Syrian refugees is alarming enough. But that he managed to do so in a way that betrayed a fundamental misunderstanding of the Islamist threat is almost disqualifying. Clearly he has learned nothing from these attacks. Thankfully, most of America has.