After being on a jet rail train for five hours, I stepped off the train with my luggage, ready to hit the ground running in Salzburg, Austria. I found my group, and we start to move toward the hotel. As we begin to walk to exit, we see police yelling at a family. Only one member of the family had a passport and only papers for the rest of the family members.
The family had a dark complexion and was covered in dirt. The baby was screaming and crying. They had no luggage with them. They looked exhausted and defeated.
I looked inside the police booth on the platform. A policewoman and policeman were at a computer screen with the passport and papers in hand. They were conversing in German and pointing at the screen.
I will never know what happened to that family. I don't know if they were permitted to pass into Germany or into Turkey. Are they living in fear in Europe or in Syria right now?
Seeing the refugee crisis first hand in that moment made a significant impact on me. I finally began to understand their side. This family looked harmless to me. They had a father and mother. There were children ranging from older to a baby. This was just a family, very similar to American families. The only difference was that their home was not America, but a war zone with a nation that does not respect the rules of war.
After traveling through all these different train stations through Europe with refugees homeless on the street, I saw both sides to the conflict.
I see how many Western people feel about the threat to security. After the recent attacks in Nice, France or the train attack in Germany, refugees were blamed for these gruesome acts of violence. I understand the fear of the public because even for me this is a concern. With only twenty percent of mosques in America preaching to their communities about anti-terrorism, this is a horrifying statistic.
One point a person must remember is NOT ALL MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS.
This stigma wears on the American Muslim community.
Europe has also expressed concern with refugees begging in the streets or sleeping in train stations. I also saw this first hand. In Prague, I saw a child with his legs gone begging on the streets for food. Due to these homeless problems and the taking away of jobs from Europeans, Europe has seen economic repercussions. This has left the people very upset and looking for someone to blame.
I see both sides of the issue. I understand that most of these families are trying to escape the massacres of their own people by their people. With that in mind though, safety has been threatened by refugees, so how can we trust one, but not another? How do we know they will not cause a security issue for the Western World?
I see both sides, but which side is greater?