Monday, May 23, 2016

Residents of Syria, Va., mostly favor ban on Syrian refugees, and many Americans agree

U.S. Beacon map: Syria is in Madison County
The rural town of Syria, Va., is saying no to Syrian refugees and yes to Donald Trump. And a lot of the country feels likewise, Mary Jordan reports for The Washington Post.

"Unlike its faraway namesake, this Syria has no Muslims. It’s a pretty village with trout in its rivers and black bears in its hills, home to many who cheer one of Donald Trump’s most derided proposals: a ban on Muslims," Jordan writes. Syria, which lies along the Old Blue Ridge Turnpike at the edge of Shenandoah National Park, is a Republican-leaning village of about 203.

"Of all Trump’s ideas, the ban on Muslims is considered by his critics to be particularly off the rails," Jordan writes. "With 1.7 billion Muslims in the world, it aims to shut out nearly one in four people on the planet. It has been called racist, unconstitutional and unenforceable. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has said that it is 'shameful' and 'dangerous.' Yet the idea turns out to have broader support than many of Trump’s critics expected. Nationally, 64 percent of Republican voters said in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll that they approve of the ban—and so did 45 percent of independents—while 26 percent of Democrats did."

Many Trump supporters in Syria say the businessman can be over the top at times—and acknowledge that the ban on Syrian nationals will probably never happen—but like the sentiment behind the statement, Jordan writes. Syria resident Laurie Richards said "no other candidate is telling her what she thinks: Just about anybody can set foot in the U.S., and those days should end." But others think Trump's statements are dangerous. Another resident, Molly Sanford, asked Jordan, “Ban people of a certain religion in a country founded on the idea of freedom of religion? More puzzling than what he is saying is that he has so many followers.”

Jordan writes, "An hour’s drive from Syria, leaders in Northern Virginia’s growing American Muslim community say the way Trump talks about Islam is bigoted and scary, whether he intends to follow through on a ban or not. But around this village of white clapboard Christian churches, many are supporting Trump and they welcome his proposed ban, even though they said it will never pass Congress—and shouldn’t." More significantly, Syria farmer Jimmy Graves said, "People hear a new, clear voice saying the country need to do more to 'keep out people who are unsuitable'.” (Read more)

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