UPDATE: Canada has announced it will accept gay Syrians!
The plight of Syrian refugees is in the news due to the Paris attacks by Daesh. While the United States is still figuring out what to do, Canada has announced its policy: They plan to accept 25,000 refugees by the end of the year — Canada will accept women, children and families, but no single men.
Their policy is based on fear that by allowing single men, they’ll accidentally let in Daesh operatives — even though the Syrian passport found at the attacks was a fake. This is particularly awful; not only is Canada falling for a Daesh hoax meant to stigmatize Syrian refugees further, but their decision hurts some of the people most in danger — gay men.
Gay people have been killed by Daesh since the beginning — and it was already difficult in Syria for a gay man before the rise of Daesh. Prior to the Syrian Civil War, homosexuality was punishable by three years in prison, and raids were carried out. The punishment is only more severe now; Canada and the United States should have been taking in gay Syrians all along, but this new policy to explicitly exclude them is heinous.
Refusing refugees at all could be seen as giving them a death sentence — but that is definitely the case for gay Syrians. Daesh is not known for nuance: A purge from September found them killing a young boy suspected of being gay.
Canada is clearly trying to do the right thing; taking in 25,000 refugees by the end of the year is a huge effort. Canada should definitely be applauded for that. But that 25,000 number should also include single men who can’t outright admit that they’re gay, lest they be punished or killed, otherwise we’re telling Daesh that it’s okay to kill gay people, just nobody else.
(Featured Image via Mstyslav Chernov)
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