ISIS, Latin America and Refugees: 5 things I’ve learned

ISIS and Syrian refugees have made big headlines in the past few weeks. If you haven’t been hiding under a rock, then you’ll know the latter group has been highly politicized, with governors (including, sadly, Illinois’ governor) declaring they won’t let refugees in.

So I was curious.  What’ve been the conversations about ISIS and Syrian refugees in Latin America? Turns out, Latin American countries are welcoming refugees with open arms, and Muslim communities are declaring ISIS as Islam’s enemy.

Here are five of the most interesting things I learned while I read a few papers.

  1. Several Latin American countries opened their doors to Syrian refugees early on. Uruguay and Argentina created special programs to resettle refugees since the civil war started in 2011.  Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said the country would accept 20,000 refugees, according to the Guardian.
  2. Brazil has been the main destination in Latin America for Syrian refugees. Nearly 2,000 people have resettled there since the outset of the war.
  3. Many refugees from Asia, Africa and the Middle East make their way to the United States using well-trodden routes Latin Americans do.
  4. Al Quiblah, Argentina’s first Muslim radio program,  focuses on clarifying fundamental differences between ISIS and the Islam practiced by millions across the globe.
  5. There are between 400,000 and 500,000 people of the Muslim faith living in Argentina. An estimated 5 to 12 million Muslims live in the United States, according to Frontline.

 

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