a cardboard signs reads "HEIL NO! JEWS AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA"
A sign from the immigration ban protests at San Francisco International Airport, Jan. 2017 (Photo/Alex Werth)

Incendiary talk on immigrants doesn’t move us forward

It is sad that so much political commentary has deteriorated to gratuitous insult. However, that is the only way to describe Rabbi Michael Rothbaum’s “How to become a Sodomite in five easy steps.” This piece does not actually discuss the topics at issue but simply vilifies those who take positions with which he disagrees.

The issue that primarily draws my attention is immigration. Here we have “Prohibit immigration, and torture any immigrants who make it to your town.” The problem is not merely the incendiary language, but the denial of legitimate issues regarding some aspects of recent immigration, such as President Obama’s preferential treatment of Syrian Muslim refugees. Many sincere and compassionate people have supported this policy. I respect them and their motives.

However, those of us who have pointed out the inherent public safety threats that this migration poses are also making valid points. In September 2016 Leon Rodriguez of DHS confirmed, reluctantly, in Senate testimony that 18 percent of those indicted in Islamic State cases came to the United States as refugees, often as adult refugees. Last November, Somali Muslim refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan initiated a ramming attack at Ohio State University and then went on to stab people randomly until a heroic police officer shot him, thereby preventing the loss of innocent lives. In March of this year Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed that approximately 30 percent of those under FBI investigation in terror cases are also refugees.

These facts do not mean that there is only one legitimate position on the admission of Muslim refugees or immigrants from the six predominately Muslim nations on which President Trump is trying to impose a travel ban. Let’s debate these issues but do so in a mutually respectful manner. The incendiary language in this article should have no place in our dialogue.

Steve Astrachan,
Pleasant Hill

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