Republican State Senator: Intern Muslim Refugees in Segregated Camps
State Sen. Elaine Morgan (R-Hopkinton) joined other Rhode Island Republicans in calling on Gov. Gina Raimondo to reject Syrian refugees fleeing civil war following last week’s Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris, France.
“The Muslim religion and philosophy is to murder, rape, and decapitate anyone who is a non Muslim,” Morgan wrote in an email to a constituent that was accidentally forwarded to other state lawmakers. “I do not want our governor bringing in any Syrian refugees. I think our country is under attack. I think this is a major plan by these countries to spread out their people to attack all non Muslim persons.”
“I can see taking [Syrian refugees] in, but keeping them all centralized—it sounds a little barbaric, but we need to centralize them and keep them in one central area,” Morgan said.
“If we need to take these people in we should set up a refugee camp to keep them segregated from our populous,” Morgan added. “I think the protection of our US citizens and the United States of America should be the most important issue here.”
The Providence Journal reports Morgan claimed her statement was taken out of context and that she was suggesting the internment of Syrians in a “federal immigration center” and “not a refugee camp.” Morgan said she sent the email before she was able to edit it and blamed unfamiliarity with her new smartphone for the mishap. She insisted her excoriating—many say Islamophobic—comments about Islam only apply to “the fanatical Muslim religion and philosophy.”
Morgan also raised eyebrows and ire with a Facebook post asking “why are the ‘peaceful [Muslim]’ community standing silent about what their counterparts are doing around the world?”
Rhode Island state Rep. Aaron Regunberg refuted Morgan’s exclusionary message, noting that his grandfather was a refugee who fled Nazi Germany.
“I am alive today because—after great desperation and hardship—my grandfather was able to flee Nazi Germany and find safety as a refugee in the Philippines,” Regunberg wrote in a letter to Gov. Raimondo. “We can do this responsibly and safely, and I urge you to keep Rhode Island true to its long history of welcoming those who seek sanctuary from persecution.”
US Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), who, along with his family, was among the 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans interned in concentration camps during World War II, blasted Morgan’s remarks.
“I am outraged by reports of elected officials calling for Syrian Americans to be rounded up and interned,” Honda wrote in a statement. “The Japanese and Japanese Americans interned after the bombing of Pearl Harbor was an outrage, as was turning away Jews at our borders who were fleeing German persecution. We cannot allow this to happen again.”
Morgan’s email came as the governors of 28 of the nation’s 50 states—all but one of them Republicans—have called on the US government to close the door to Syrian refugees fleeing the horrors of a 4-year-long civil war that has claimed more than 300,000 lives and displaced millions of men, women and children.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt he wants to keep out Syrian refugees and that he would not even make exceptions for orphaned children.
“The fact is that we need appropriate vetting, and I don’t think orphans under five are being, you know, should be admitted into the United States at this point,” Christie said. “In the end, I don’t trust this administration to effectively vet the people that they’re asking us to take in. We need to put the safety and security of the American people first.”