US Ambassador in Bucharest encourages Romanians to welcome Muslim immigrants

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The American ambassador to Romania, Hans Klemm said on Monday that he had received an e-mail from someone who signed “James Bond” questioning him on the Muslim migrants issue and if it’s possible that Europe might cope with this migrant inflow.

The other day I actually did got an e-mail from James Bond.  Now, I realize this is not his real name, it was a pseudonym, but the topic he raised was a serious one.  It was obvious from what he wrote that he has a great love of his country, Romania, and is concerned about its welfare and its future.  He wanted to know my opinion on what he called the “Muslim invasion” of Europe. He is concerned about the recent immigrants to this continent in to particular this country and asked me to comment.  I felt it important to do so,” explains the US ambassador.

Klemm notes that he is a first generation American, as his father emigrated from Germany to the United States to work in Michigan.  “(…) Aside from those who are pure Native Americans, all of us trace our ancestral roots to other countries.  We come from all over the world, but have one fact in common – we are Americans.  Not only are we ethnically diverse, we are also religiously as well, believers of a higher power and non-believers alike,” writes the US envoy.

Hans Klemm further states that the US citizens have struggled with the diversity topic for many years, mentioning he agrees to President Obama’s reference in his first inaugural address when he declaring America’s diversity as “a strength, not a weakness.”

Today, we face a new test, those fleeing wars and persecution in the Middle East.  Many of these individuals are escaping horrific conflict and that these vulnerable migrants include many women and children seeking protection.  I applaud the generosity and compassion with which so many European citizens and leaders have already responded to this crisis,” Klemm stated, adding that the U.S. has provided over $4.5 billion in humanitarian assistance since the start of the Syrian crisis – more than any other single donor – to help address dire humanitarian conditions faced by 7.6 million displaced people inside Syria and over 4 million Syrian refugees in the region, in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

America has admitted nearly 70,000 refugees from around the world in 2014 and 2015.  We will also be increasing our resettlement of refugees by more than 40 percent over the next two years, welcoming 85,000 refugees in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017.  Of the refugees admitted this year, at least 10,000 will be from Syria,” he argued.

The American diplomat admitted that welcoming new immigrants, especially in large number, can be frightening.  “What if they do not acclimate, what if they put a drain on social, financial, or health services, what if they take away jobs from people that have been there for years?  There are a lot of unknowns.  But here I am reminded that the birth of some of America’s greatest contributions to society were from immigrants,” the US ambassador continued, giving the examples of many famous immigrants sheltered by the U.S.: Albert Einstein, fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany, Madeline Albright, escaping communism in then Czechoslovakia, Luong Ung, getting out from under an oppressive regime in Cambodia, singer Gloria Estefan fleeing Cuba or Mahnaz Afkhami, former Secretary-General of the Woman’s Organization of Iran.

My point by presenting these examples is this, one never knows where the next Einstein or Estefan comes from.  What is important is that all should be treated humanely and with dignity.  All should be given a chance to develop, to contribute, and to make a difference in this world (…)

I believe that Romania could be the Eastern European example of tolerance and inclusion, by welcoming those seeking a brighter future (…) Do not look at this as a potential drain on society, but as a potential resource for it.  Let these new immigrants become part of this new Romania you are creating, one free of corruption, one where rule of law applies to each and every citizen, and one where ever member of society has the opportunity to contribute to the vibrant culture and economy (…) I encourage all in this wonderful country steeped in history, rich in diversity to welcome immigrants and to help them be Muslim and Romanian.

Yes, Mr. Bond it is possible,” ambassador Klemm ends his reply.

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