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Activist 'Chicago Girl' explains why the U.S. can't deny Syrians refuge

Alaa Basatneh has been waging a war against the Syrian regime from behind her laptop ever since she heard about the bloodshed tearing her native country apart a few years ago. Using social media as her weapon, she’s helped expose the conflict in Syria by bringing attention to the atrocities the Syrian regime has committed against its people, making her not only an activist, but a hero. Basatneh’s efforts were documented in the film #Chicagogirl released last year.

On a Fusion panel hosted by Alicia Menendez, Basatneh addressed the recent discussion around the Syrian refugee crisis in the U.S. that’s emerged in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Since it was discovered that one of the bombers had entered Paris by disguising himself as a Syrian refugee, many Americans, including U.S. governors and Republican presidential candidates, have weighed in on the issue, criticizing the Obama administration’s plan to take in displaced Syrians and suggesting the refugees would pose a threat to our national security.

“Let’s not close the door in the face of refugees whom are being targeted with sniper bullets, TNT barrel bombs, Russian air strikes,” the 22-year-old said. “Let’s stand by our ideals, the American ideals.”

Joining Basatneh on the panel were Michael Breen, Executive Director of the Truman National Security Project and its partner organization, the Center for National Policy, Nezar Hamze, Regional Operations Director for the Council on America-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Manu Saadia, a Fusion reporter. Watch their full discussion about the Paris attacks below.

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