Watch for ISIS inflitrators among refugees: speaker

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That's the advice of Prayer Breakfast guest speaker Sean Campbell

We should welcome Syrian refugees, but be careful – some could be working for the Islamic militant group ISIS, according to the guest speaker at the 17th annual Olds Ministerial Association Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.

We should also make sure we do more than just bring Syrian refugees in. We should also make sure they adjust to life in Canada, Sean Campbell said during the event, held March 1 at the Pomeroy Inn & Suites.

Campbell, the Calgary-based executive director of the Samaritan’s Purse charity, has been to more than 150 countries to provide humanitarian assistance during wars or natural disasters. Some of those countries include famous hot spots like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Rwanda and Bosnia.

“Many of you have asked questions about the Syrian refugees: should we be bringing them to our community? Has the government done the right thing,” Campbell said during his speech.

“One of the things I just want to counsel on as we look towards this, ISIS on their websites are bragging that they’re putting their soldiers into Europe and into America.

“I was quite interested in seeing a Fox News report the other day that said of the 1.3 somewhat million Syrians that have come into Germany, they can’t find 137,000 of them,” he said. “Now that does give you pause for concern, just a little bit.”

“Any of these refugees that come through, and I’m all for it, our church has taken in (some) like many of your churches, but I just want to exercise caution in this.

“The processing of 25,000 refugees that we’ve agreed to bring to Canada is not an easy process. Our staff are overwhelmed in what they’re trying to do. So let’s just be a little bit cautious; I don’t think anything good happens in haste,” Campbell added.

“You know, a lot of the Afghans and Iraqis – we estimate now 47 per cent of those who are coming out of that part of the world right now indeed are not Syrians. We have to be very, very careful in who we accept and how we accept them, and how we care for them,” he said.

“It will be easy to get them to Canada but the real ministry to those people begins when we get them here. They are such a social community; we need to remember that. It’s not just bringing them here, it’s also caring for them when they get here.”

Campbell said current conflicts in the Middle East and those elsewhere in the past, like the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s have been extremely vicious.

“This is a religious war for them and they’re doing some of the most brutal, horrific things,” Campbell said in regard to ISIS.

“I was in Rwanda and I saw the slaughter of the Hutus and the Tutsis; I saw that firsthand. I’ve been in Bosnia. I’ve been in villages where every child in Bosnia was killed that was under the age of two years old in cement mixers. I’ve seen these things.

“The worst wars I’ve ever seen have been in this part of the world now, in Iraq and on the Syrian border. What ISIS has done to people,” he said.

“About six months ago, ISIS released about a thousand women and everyone said to us, ‘oh look, they’re turning over a new leaf, they’re releasing them. Most of these women were raped and pregnant. Where do they go? Well, because of our work over there, we’re now caring for them.”

He said during wars in the Middle East a couple of decades ago, former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein took advantage of a lull in the fighting to attack the Kurds in northern Iraq, unleashing chemical weapons on them.

He said the West employs a double standard: condemning chemical weapons use by ISIS and Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad, but glossing over the fact that Hussein and others also used them.

That’s not the only brutal tactic Hussein used, according to Campbell.

“I had a Kurdish clansman tell me, ‘you know, the day before our village was attacked, all the children disappeared,’” Campbell said.

“The next day, when Saddam Hussein’s tanks advanced upon their villages, tied around the turrets of the tanks were their own children, so they wouldn’t shoot them.”

“I have to say it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. And my advice to us all is whatever time you spend in prayer, pray for our Syrian friends,” Campbell said.

dcollie@olds.greatwest.ca

“I was quite interested in seeing a Fox News report the other day that said of the 1.3 somewhat million Syrians that have come into Germany, they can’t find 137,000 of them,” he said. “Now that does give you pause for concern, just a little bit.”SEAN CAMPBELLGUEST SPEAKER OLDS MINISTERIAL ASSOCIATION PRAYER BREAKFAST

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Doug Collie

Doug Collie joined the Olds Albertan in 2014 as editor. He covers municipal politics, news, community events, arts and entertainment and sports happening in and around Bowden and Olds.