Derek Gentile: Let's not give ISIS a powerful recruiting tool

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PITTSFIELD>> The decision by most of the governors in the country, including our own Gov. Charlie Baker, to try to deny access to Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks is disappointing and sad.

It's also not going to affect the activities of ISIS.

The problem is, none of the attackers were Syrian nationals. (Yes, yes, I know. The Syrian passport found near the theater shoot out.) So these guys are incredibly organized, but somehow, one of them drops his passport? On a suicide mission? I don't think so. My call: diversion!)

The fact is, most of them are French and Belgium nationals. The European Union is treating this as an internal investigation.

I think one of the things most Americans seem to assume is that the terrorists are crazy, incoherent, religious fanatics. They may be fanatical, but they are also very clever. They have been several steps ahead of us on this for weeks. Banning the flow of refugees to the U.S. plays right into their hands.

Now, they can say to these refugees, "Look. The Americans don't want you. Nobody wants you. Come back and join us." A powerful recruiting tool.

The fact is, ISIS now recruits globally. Don't be surprised down the road if one of the next mug shots you see following an arrest, or worse, an attack, is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed American. Or Canadian. That's right, some of the bad guys look like us.

I also believe that the organization already has people in place for their next attack in whatever country they are planning to hit, including America. They're counting on the U.S. using up resources to more energetically screen Syrian refugees, rather than search for terrorists.

Again, reacting in a knee-jerk fashion to these issues is, I'm sorry, really stupid. These types of attacks are planned over the course of years.

Here's another point. About 10 percent of the population of Syria is Christian. Because, you know, that's where it all started 2,000 years ago. It stands to reason that at least that percentage of refugees are Christian. Another three percent of the country's population is Jewish. So, it stands to reason that percentage is Jewish.

So if it's not un-Christian to keep Muslim refugees out of the country, is it un-Christian to keep Christian refugees out? Just asking.

Finally, think about this. These refugees are middle-class families: tradesmen, accountants, health care professionals and whatever. The notion that their entry into American society will somehow overburden our welfare system is, I believe, a hysterical response (crazy hysterical not ha-ha hysterical). These folks want to be a part of something, for lack of a better word, normal. They would prefer that their houses aren't blown up.

I will add that I'm not a sharp guy, but all this took about 20 to 30 minutes to research. Gov. Baker, you need smarter advisors.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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