After the deadly and horrific terrorrist attack last weekend, France has found itself revisiting their refugee policy. In September, France committed to housing 24,000 Syrian refugees but on Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande, in a move that contradicts the Republican response to refugees in the United States, announced that France will now accept 30,000 Syrian refugees into their country over the next two years.
Despite declaring war on Daesh (more commonly known as ISIS) just a few days before, President Hollande acknowledged that the recent attacks have created an atmosphere of fear and doubt regarding refugees, with The Guardian reporting,
“Some people have tried to draw a connection between the movement of refugees from the Middle East and the terrorist threat. This link exists because people from Iraq and Syria live in areas controlled by Islamic State and are killed by those who attack us.”
President Hollande called attention to the obligation of France to continue their “humanitarian duty” while also maintaining life as usual, asking the crowd, “What would France be without its museums, without its terraces, its concerts, its sports competitions?” The French President drew attention to France’s Asylum Procedure, insisting that safety will come first while the country maintains its identity. He explained further that security was top priority.
“We also have to verify people who are coming onto the European territory and into France to make sure there are zero risks for our country. So we will be executing necessary verification before accepting any refugees onto our soil.”
France’s unfaltering stance doesn’t come as a surprise to many Europeans; a poll conducted last year that resurfaced in The Atlantic has revealed the French to have the most positive views of Muslims in Europe:
As the world takes on a threat to freedom, it is easy to let fear take over, shutting out the world in an attempt to feel the slightest bit in control. But President Hollande and the position of France give the West food for thought: Will freedom or fear shape our politics? Only time will tell.