Letter writer: Can’t we support those fleeing war and persecution?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

In the opinion section of your Aug. 31 issue, Maureen DiRienzo cites some isolated Germany incidents with Muslim refugees to stoke our fears about exercising our historic American hospitality to host refugees here [“Take a Sober View of Refugees,” Xpress].

My experience with Muslim people has been quite different. While living for extended periods of time in countries where Muslims (and adherents of other religions) significantly outnumbered Christians (e.g., Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Palestine, Hong Kong, Korea) and visiting others for shorter periods of time (China, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Israel), my wife and I have had nothing but the most cordial, constructive and harmonious relations with the local populations. Also, while actively sponsoring refugees in another U.S. locale, we found the experience to be stimulating and enriching.

In both types of experiences, we have been able to learn from other cultures, receive generous hospitality and put into practice American values of service, unselfishness and benevolence. When we allow our attitudes and behavior to be governed by fear and security concerns, we negate our rich national heritage of welcoming the stranger, forgo opportunities for learning and growth, and project a selfish, mean-spirited image to the world.

Sad to say, this latter attitude has seemed to prevail in our country ever since 9/11. Hate crimes against Muslims have tripled, exacerbated by irresponsible political rhetoric. Bigotry, hate mail, school bullying and (not always veiled) incitement to violence are openly expressed. Many American Muslims live in constant fear of rejection and persecution. The media focus on the negative, “terrorist” dimension, while stories about Muslim contributions to society, both here and abroad, are hard to find.

Hate, violence, intolerance and religious persecution have been practiced in every age, nation and culture — as much or more in so-called “Christian” eras and countries as in any other. Treatment of Native Americans, Chinese, Mormons, African-Americans, Jews, etc., in our history are prime examples.

Rather than “the pot calling the kettle black,” can we not put our best foot forward by reaching out with welcome and support for the “others” who are already here; open our hearts and homeland to human beings fleeing war, famine and persecution in places like Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan and Burma; and support their desire and motivation to make a new life for themselves and become contributing members of our society, as the ancestors of most of us have always done?

— Doug Wingeier


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21 thoughts on “Letter writer: Can’t we support those fleeing war and persecution?

  1. val

    As a Conservative Republican I cant support supporting others; as a Christian I should support supporting others and by default I’m a hypocrite… JESUS (sitting at the right hand of the Father) is clearly a Republican…. WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? IF JESUS Saves; and Buddah Spends…. JESUS would probably tell “fleeing war and persecution” that HE just couldn’t afford it and this time, but maybe later….

  2. The Real World

    Doug – don’t we all wish that the world is like the candyland version you describe. It so clearly isn’t. How does this reality fly right over the heads of so many? It’s either a fantastic degree of denial or that their politics has become their de-facto religion. Sigh….it isn’t possible to reason with either.

    The Bible Belt excepted, it isn’t the religion that most Americans take issue with, it’s the inherent violence and suppression of their culture (which is informed by their religion, I get it. But that could turn into a long conversation.)

    I have no problem with anyone, of any nation, ethnicity, culture, etc. etc. immigrating to our country. But, they must do so with proper vetting, demonstrate that they intend to be working/productive and to abide by our laws.

    “cites some isolated Germany incidents with Muslim refugees” — you are WILDLY incorrect. Some simple internet research would have produced volumes of reading about problems all over Europe. So, you just made up that viewpoint because it fits your candyland ideal. You folks need to SNAP OUT OF IT, you are being played for fools by your own “leaders”!

    “while stories about Muslim contributions to society, both here and abroad, are hard to find.” — I agree with that and it would sure be interesting to know why the lack of coverage.

  3. boatrocker

    Who would vet them, Real World?
    I don’t think you have ever specified who is worthy for that task.

    • The Real World

      Oh. My. God. — We have waaayy too many simpletons in this country and definitely in this town. All of these half-witted, dreamy, hands-in-other-peoples-pockets, forcing their half-baked ideals on everyone, hypocritical FOOLS.

      Yes, I’m jumping your case, boatrocker — because you people need to go back to school and learn how to think and reason. They failed you or you failed yourself.

      Who would vet them? The &^%$ Feds, of course. But, it’s important that they really do it and not make special exceptions for hundreds of thousands of George Soros’ special categories. (And I’ll slap $1000 on the table that most or all of these dreamy letter writers have no idea who the guy is or what he’s up to!) No system is perfect so the Feds also need to tally which immigrants have become consistent lawbreakers and deport them. Yea here, I’ll do your research for you: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/11/20/infographic-screening-process-refugee-entry-united-states

      • boatrocker

        So you’ll slap $1,000 on the table that most or all of these dreamy letter writers have no idea who George Soros is?

        He was one of the Beatles. He wrote While My Presidency Gently Weeps.
        Ha! Pay up!

        See, I know about stuff! I did public education grade 1-12 and all my teachers talked about is why we shouldn’t read and instead pay attention to the lamestream media. We watched MSNBC news for all 8 hours of the school day. Before it was even invented!
        They injected us nothing but Martin Luther King Jr speeches and Bette Midler show tunes.
        We sold granola and Birkenstocks to buy marching band uniforms.
        The only song my high school marching band played was Kum buy ya, and for some reason we never won a football game.
        My first of 100 tattoos was “I (heart) Huffington Post”.

        Or are you referring to George Soros who still is so far from the top for making $ on the presidency like Cheney,
        and who funded and helped black students to attend college in apartheid era S. Africa,
        funded non violent democratic revolt in E. Europe,
        funded relief efforts in post war Sarajevo,
        oooooo, Proposition 19 too

        I could list the guy’s whole career, but to you he’s a commie, and I just don’t get it.
        Yes, I know both choices suck for an upcoming election, everything here is bought and sold, and now you’re writing in caps.

        I can at least say this with utter 111% conclusivity, it ain’t Trump for me.
        I’ll take any other circle of Hell .

        The Feds vetting immigrants? Can you say that with a straight face?
        You do know the original Pledge of Allegiance was a perfectly metered poem and written by an American Christian Socialist (Bellamy)?
        1954 saw “Under God” added. It messed up the meter.
        Whose God? George Wallace’s God?
        Religion does not belong in politics. Period.

        Speak to me of vetting again and who should do it.
        Too bad the Religious Clause only applies to office holders.

  4. Troubled Traveller

    Mr Wingeier, I’m with you!! I applaud that your intellect is capable of not only espousing the behaviors that you have personally experienced and witnessed, but that you are possessed of the moral courage to state your experiences and beliefs in a public forum. That you comprehend that we create our realities beginning with our thoughts and by following through with correct choices and actions. That you are able to see and experience the results that you describe. I’m a military brat that has travelled the entire “free” world; my experiences have been similar to yours, Mr Wingeier.

    The responses that your fine letter have generated are perfect indications that your thoughts and the actions and the behaviors that you espouse to us are right on the money. Darkness must attempt to consume the light because the light eliminates the darkness.

    I wanna stand in the light with men and women just like you. I want us to shine the light into even the darkest corners known to humankind. In my belief system, God put us all here together for some of the exact reasons that have been your experiential reality. I’ve got my oar grasped firmly in my hands. I’ll row with you every day of the week; twice on Sunday. We Shall Overcome. I invite your detractors to get a grip; get a feel for the oar that Mr Wingeier describes. Try it out; you will see that it works exactly as Mr Wingeier describes. Really! We won’t watch you or laugh at you getting all wet on your first attempt at rowing. We’ll help and teach you all we can!! It’s worth the joy just to try. Believe me; it works. Just try!!!

    Thank You, Mr Wingeier!!! I’m with ya 100%!!

    And, when did everything anybody can find on the internet become universal truth?.?.?.? That must have passed muster in a manner similar to the way HB2 passed the state legislature….. There is more inaccurate info and data available on the Internet than truth, by far. Did your grandmothers, teachers or anybody else never teach you NOT to believe EVERYTHING you read?!? Simply because you find something on the Internet and know how to link us to it, doesn’t make it true, or even correct. Just because “we can”, doesn’t necessarily mean “we should”.

    Thanks again, Mr Wingeier, and More Power to everything good in God’s multiverse such as letters like the one you wrote!!

    • The Real World

      “And, when did everything anybody can find on the internet become universal truth? ” — boy, I’m in a wagering mood today. And I’ll bet I know where you grew up. A place where the people make tend to make 3 or 4 assumptions within a 60 second dialogue. And given their assumptions are generally wrong, any rational conversation if off-the-rails in that one minute of time.

      Nobody conveyed such a statement Traveller, you made it up all by yourself because it fits your fantasy view of the world.

      Let me ask you some practical questions: How much money are you willing to donate for resettlement efforts of refugees? What efforts are you willing to put forth to assist? Offer a bedroom in your home for a time? Offer to teach English classes? Pls advise.

      • Troubled Traveller

        1) Ever red cent in my possession.
        2) Anything that I can possibly do.
        3) The bedroom, the living room, the den, the kitchen, the basement, the laundry, the yard, the garage, the driveway.
        4) Yes

        Will YOU be joining me?

        • The Real World

          Most excellent! That would make you the genuine article rather than one of the many, many hypocrites.

          This is the organization: https://www.rescue.org/ and I imagine others would join me in congratulating you for any donation you make over $50.

          And here is where you may sign up to begin tutoring: http://litcouncil.com/volunteer-roles/

          Pls advise when you’ve donated and signed-up to tutor and I will declare and defend you as the real deal. A person who walks their talk.

          • boatrocker

            Ooooh! Letting Troubled Trav do the real work and then getting Real World’s stamp of approval?
            Sounds like a win-win to me.

          • The Real World

            boatrocker – looks like it’s all the way back to 3rd grade for you. In Reading Comprehension you get a D -.

            And, of course, it flew straight over your head that the most important takeaway is that Traveller ran for hills when requested to act upon his/her cheap talk. No surprise on either count! Par for the course. At least y’all are consistent.

      • Troubled Traveller

        As a matter of fact; I’d lay down my very life in your defense……..
        God Bless You!!

  5. AVL LVR

    Our ancestors did not come from those countries. They kept them out for good reason. I would allow the non-muslims in. Every country Islam has conquered has lost or is losing its diversity. Turkey used to have significant Christian minorities of Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, and other ancients sects. Some 50 million Christians were murdered in Asia Minor between 1894-1923. The rest were forced to flee. Now they are 99% Muslim and are persecuting the Kurds who are also Muslim (more secular). The same was repeated throughout North Africa and now Syria and Iraq. Besides the constant threat of jihad, we have the right as Americans to continue our culture as it has been since our founding. That is why the Dalai Lama said that Germany is Germany and it cannot become can Arab country. He wants Tibet to remain Tibetan, just like we should let America remain American.
    Our country is more populated than its was a hundred years ago. We have to be more choosy. Why we allow endless population expansion when we want to conserve the land. The few immigrants that do arrive should be either educated or wealthy. Too many refugees and immigrants are on government assistance.

    • AVL LVR

      Correction: Not all 50 million murdered were in Asia Minor.

      TOTAL: 1,750,000 Greek Christians martyred 1914-1922
      TOTAL: 1,800,000 Armenian Christians martyred 1894-1923
      SYRIANS AND NESTORIANS 1915-1917 100,000

      Assyrian genocide up to 300,000

    • boatrocker

      Yea, actually they did. Spanish sailing ships had plenty of Moorish (Muslim) sailors who jumped ship in the New World. They intermarried with all kinds of folks, American Indians, freed/escaped slaves, etc. They still live for the most part up in TN and go by the Melungeons and as far as I know have not attempted to enforce any sort of Sharia law on us.

      “Our ancestors”? Who cares what your ancestors did or believed- everyone likes to claim their own were the only real immigrants .

  6. AVL LVR

    These refugees are often either country shopping or have come to conquer (as many clearly state). They are safe in other Muslim country which speak their language and share their culture.

  7. Quasi

    Yes come to WNC, and get stuck in a cycle of low paying jobs and high housing.


    Mr. Wingeier seems to think that he understands Muslims due to the fact that he spent time on “their” turf. I’m positive that he spent little time professing his Christian beliefs outside of the local mosque. He certainly didn’t drink liquor or have his wife run around in an exposed fashion.
    My great grandfather’s US citizenship papers state the following…….he has resided in the US for 5 years and upward preceding this application……….he has behaved as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the US and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same….that he absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty whatsoever….
    Why is it that Muslim’s want to enforce their own “Sharia” laws, speak their native language, consider Christians to be infidels who must be eliminated. In essence, they refuse to adapt to the principles set by our forefathers. Non-Muslim immigrants have adapted to the US, obey the laws of this nation, and are a whole lot less likely to become terrorists. Those are the immigrants that the US should be focusing on.

    • luther blissett

      ” Non-Muslim immigrants have adapted to the US, obey the laws of this nation, and are a whole lot less likely to become terrorists.”

      Funny, that, because it took over a century from the first large-scale arrival of Catholics (particularly Irish ones) for them to be considered sufficiently “adapted” enough for one to be elected president. Know-Nothings gonna Know-Nothing.

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