Islamophobia and JFS in Kansas City’s Efforts to Resettle Syrian Refugees

One might not concur with everything that King Abdullah of Jordan has to say about Israel, but there’s no gainsaying that his kingdom is the least hostile regime in the Mideast towards the Jewish state.He has respected the peace treaty his father signed in 1994, and generally has stayed out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Last night, 60 Minutes broadcast a recent interview with King Abdullah. Israel was not the subject of conversation. Rather, their topic was the impact of the Syrian Civil War on Jordan. Jordan has absorbed 650,000 refugees, a figure equivalent to 20% of Jordan’s population. King Abdullah described the economic impact on his society: unemployment has risen to 15%; the health care system is saturated; and, most troubling, legions of young Jordanians out of work and desperate are prone to Islamist radicalization — and fully half of Jordan’s residents are under 24 years old.

Worse yet — and here’s where we come in — one of the prompts for ISIS and Al Qaeda to perpetrate terrorist acts is the escalation of Islamophobia in the West. Islamophobia compels many young and desperate Mideast Muslims to blame the West for their misery — and you know what that means. The King is right on.

Which is why it’s so vital that Americans understand that banning Muslim immigration won’t solve any problems. To the contrary. Canadians get that. Which is one reason why Rabbi Barukh Frydman-Kohl (Civia’s childhood Rabbi in Albany) and his Toronto congregation have adopted a Syrian refugee family. Perhaps such an opportunity awaits us.

Yesterday’s KC Star carried a front-page article about local efforts to resettle Syrian refugees right here, with Jewish Vocational Services’ involvement a focus of the article. If this is of interest to you, let me know. Here are the links to last night’s 60 Minutes segment with King Abdullah and yesterday’s article in the Star: