New survey: 13% of Syrian refugees in Europe support ISIS
Posted by: Ilana Shneider November 11, 2015
As the new Liberal government scrambles to fulfill its election promise of bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by December 31 (or roughly 6,000 refugees a week), the first-of-its-kind survey of Syrian refugees entering Europe found that 13% support the Islamic State (ISIS).
In the largest public opinion poll ever conducted in the Arab region by the Doha-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies which included a sample made up of 600 respondents from Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq as well as 900 Syrian refugees, the poll revealed that 22% of Syrian refugees viewed Israel as the greatest threat to the security and stability of the Arab region, while only 10% of Syrian refugees viewed Islamic militancy as the greatest threat.
Additionally, 10% of Syrian refugees named the United States to be one of the two biggest beneficiaries of the military campaign against ISIS, while 27% named Israel as one of the two parties who stood to gain the most.
15% of Syrian refugees did not regard ISIS as a direct threat to the security of their home country, and 10% and 16% cited declaration of the Islamic Caliphate and commitment to Islamic principles as the main cause of ISIS strength and support, respectively.
66% of Syrian refugees believe that ISIS was created by foreign actors and 31% of Syrians said they oppose or strongly oppose the military airstrikes against ISIS by the US-led international coalition.
Finally, the survey also found that 13% of the displaced Syrian refugees have a positive or somewhat positive view of the terror group.
The poll should raise alarms about the potential of 13% of incoming refugees either already supporting ISIS or being susceptible to ISIS recruitment. However, to date the Liberals have not provided any details about what, if any, screening mechanisms have been put in place in order to identify potential security risks by bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada in a span of less than 2 months, in spite of serious concerns voiced by immigration lawyers and security experts.
Toronto-based Immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann warned that accepting 25,000 refugees and landing them in Canada before December 31 is a “very, very tall order”. According to Mamann, who has been practicing immigration law for close to 30 years, “something is going to have to be missed in order to do what Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau said he is going to do.”
In an interview with Radio Canada International (October 29, 2015), Kyle Matthews of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute said that Trudeau’s promise is going to be very difficult to meet, particularly when it comes to security screening. “The sad reality is that, yes all refugees are civilian, but there could be a few bad apples among the refugee population. So they’re going to have to check everyone’s background and that’s not a process that you could simply enter into a Google search and get the answer”.
Also on October 29, CIJnews reported that Syrian intelligence database seized by the rebel forces clearly demonstrated the severity of the risk embodied in admitting thousands of refugees without proper security checks. One of the databases, obtained by CIJnews, contained detailed information on around 130,000 Syrians, of whom thousands are described as “armed militants” and many others as operatives in rebel groups, including the radical Islamist organizations or involved in violent activities. Names and pictures of alleged Syrian war criminals, taken in Syria as well as several western countries where those alleged criminals found refuge, were posted in a Facebook group called “Criminals, Not Refugees”.