On Tuesday, CAIR-Chicago’s Renner Larson attended a panel discussion that dove into the Syrian crisis, specifically addressing the huge number of refugees that have resulted from the conflict. Speakers included Lina Sergie Attar, Co-founder and CEO, Karam Foundation; Cameron Hudson, Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Gregory Maniatis, Senior European Policy Fellow, Migration Policy Institute; Adviser to Peter Sutherland, UN Special Representative for Migration; Robert Pape, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago
They discussed the situation since the Syrian Civil War began over four years ago. A dire humanitarian situation has been unfolding with approximately half of Syria’s pre-war population displaced from their homes. Today, one out of every five displaced persons worldwide is from Syria. While the majority of Syrian refugees currently reside in neighboring countries, the crisis recently spilled into Europe in dramatic fashion, with hundreds of thousands crossing the borders of the EU in search of asylum. The most significant refugee crisis in Europe since World War II is testing some of the EU’s fundamental values and policies, exposing the frictions between its member states, and forcing the global community to reconsider the festering war that caused it in the first place.
The speakers outlined the challenges face in Syria itself as well as the mounting troubles in Europe that threaten to damage European unity and have lead to a rise in nationalist political parties across the continent. They also mentioned the importance of countering Islamophobia with Professor Robert Pope specifically sighting the work he has done in cooperation with CAIR.