EDMONTON — For Gail Millard, the stories are heart wrenching. Every day, she gets emails from Syrians desperate to escape to safety in Canada.
Millard has been working with her church to help them, and so far has brought three families to the Edmonton area.
She describes the people seeking her help as well-educated: doctors, lawyers, accountants. Most of them, she says, speak English.
WATCH: Gail Millard reads an email from a Syrian seeking her help to come to Canada
It makes Millard angry to hear fears those refugees could have links to ISIS.
“I can’t understand how people can be uneducated enough to think that way.”
“These people, if they were with ISIS, they certainly wouldn’t be seeking refugee status,” says Mallard. “I mean, ISIS has the means to just plunk them into Canada.”
Watch below: Edmonton woman reads letter from a Syrian refugee family
Reza Hasmath, a political science professor at the University of Alberta, agrees. He believes bringing refugees to Canada is in the interest of the country’s national security.
“By having more refugees staying in Syria, it actually plays a very negative role in the long run for us, because the longer they’re there, the greater chances they could be radicalized by forces such as ISIL.”
Farooq Iqbal is a youth director at Edmonton’s Mac Islamic Centre. He’s seen prejudicial comments about Syrian refugees on social media and says they began even before the attacks in Paris.
“It’s disheartening to see, but then it is also reassuring to see the other side of the conversation,” he says, “where you have a lot of people recognizing that it’s not appropriate to be stereotyping and painting people with the same type of brush.”
Millard says most of the refugees now seeking help are in United Nations refugee camps, many of them families with young children. She wishes Canada could help more of them.
“If I had my way, I would bring them all. Every last one of them; every refugee I would bring to Canada.”
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