By Camilla Shearman, Blog Writer

The following excerpts are taken from STAND Canada’s Roundtable Discussion on Iraq and Syria, held on September 10th, 2015. Participating in the discussion were STAND Canada Policy Co-Director Priya Ramesh, and UBC Chapter Vice President Julian D’Souza. Moderating the discussion was STAND Canada Chapters Co-Director Adi Burton. A link to the full discussion can be found at the bottom of this text.

Concerning Canada’s Efforts to Take in Refugees

Julian D’Souza – I think a lot more could be done. I think the process should be streamlined more in regards to specifically the Conservative Policy of focusing more on minority populations. I think that’s something that could be removed. It seems kind of discriminatory to say, “we’re not going to take Shias, we’re not going to take Sunnis, we’re only going to take Christian Yazidis” or whatever the case may be. So I think that’s one way we could improve our policy.

Concerning Islamophobia and the Refugee Crisis

Priya Ramesh – When people blindly reject refugees with sentiments of nationalism, I think that’s something I personally do not like, but I think bringing in a massive amount of people from a completely different country into your country all of a sudden can create so many problems.

Adi Burton – And so these concerns are something that need to be discussed, and we have to be able to engage in an honest dialogue about that. There are fears that are not totally unfounded, and it’s not a simple thing.

Priya Ramesh – I agree. I think there should be more open discussion about Islamophobia – in Europe especially. I think the big thing right now is that refugees fleeing Iraq and Syria aren’t just minority Christians or Yazidis – they’re also Muslim families. There’s a huge kind of backlash against Muslim immigration in Europe right now.

Adi Burton – So when Julian mentioned the Canadian policy for minorities […], it’s not completely crazy to be thinking that those kinds of policies could be trying to address these (Islamophobic) fears in a kind of round-a-bout way – that is not necessarily engaging with this in an honest and open way. […] Creative forms of discrimination.

The full discussion can be found here.

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