US President Barack Obama says refugee crisis should not be equated with terrorism

US President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference at the end of the G20 summit  in Antalya, Turkey on Monday.
US President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference at the end of the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey on Monday. PHOTO: REUTERS

ANTALYA, Turkey (REUTERS/AFP) - US President Barack Obama on Monday (Nov 16) made an impassioned plea for the United States to "step up" and help those displaced by violence in Syria, saying the refugee crisis should not be equated with terrorism.

"The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism. They are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife. They are parents. They are children. They are orphans," " he told a news conference after the G-20 summit in Turkey.

"It is very important...that we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism."

 

Some Republican presidential candidates in the US have called for only admitting Christian refugees or for limiting immigration in light of the coordinated attacks in Paris last week that were claimed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Obama pointedly called out members of the party, and said they should follow the example of former President George W. Bush in not treating the fight against terrorism as a war on Muslims.

"The United States has to step up and do its part," he said.

"When I hear folks say that 'maybe, well, we should just admit the Christians and not the Muslims', I hear political leaders suggesting there would be religious test for which a person fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution - that's shameful."