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Family Law In The News

Syrian refugee crisis up for discussion at Florida Coastal School of Law

Syrian refugee crisis up for discussion at Florida Coastal School of Law

By Melissa Ross
Posted Nov. 24, 2015

As NATO’s chief calls for calm and “de-escalation” after news that Turkey shot down a Russian warplane at the Syrian border, Florida Coastal School of Law took the issue local with a Tuesday panel discussion on the Syrian refugee crisis and the legal issues around refugee resettlement.

Also on the agenda, the recent U.S. House bill blocking refugee resettlement of Syrians and Iraqis.

“My mother’s family fled Iraq in 1971, and my father’s family fled Iraq in 1967,” says Elizabeth Lazar, a third-year law student at FCSL.

“They both left in order to escape persecution for belonging to both a religious and ethnic minority,” she told WJCT.

“We are Assyrian Christians. And the fact that I am able to be on the radio and voice my opinion, is a right I would not have had if my parents were not allowed to immigrate here. I am a proud American who will never take my freedom of speech or my freedom of religion for granted. It could have easily been me desperately seeking a country to turn into a safe home for myself.

“Also, while speaking to my family I found that, without fail, they describe their years in Iraq as a time when Christians and Muslims lived in peace side by side in the same neighborhoods. There was not much trouble to report between the different religious groups within the neighborhoods. They were friends and neighbors just like we are friends with our neighbors. The trouble came at the hands of the extremists. It was both the extremists and government officials who turned people like my family into second-class citizens. Men in my family were often arrested without cause, and denied opportunities due to their minority status. It is due to these extremists that so many refugees have dropped everything they have ever known, and left everything that they have ever owned, just to be free of constant fear.”

Meanwhile, the downing of the Russian warplane could be a significant setback to Western-led efforts to work closer with Moscow in battling the Islamic State and seeking a resolution to Syria’s nearly five-year civil war.


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