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Q&A: These Refugees Want To Know Why Trump Is Banning Syrians. Trump Supporter Says It's Simple Mathematics.

'It is a simple fact that a dollar goes further helping refugees closer to the Middle East.'

06/02/2017 10:16 PM AEDT | Updated 06/02/2017 11:41 PM AEDT
Q&A/Facebook
Meet Saad and Omar Al-Kassab are Syrian refugees. They are also doing degrees in business and medicine.

Saad and Omar Al-Kassab are Syrian refugees who fled torture, disenfranchisement and the threat of death in war-torn Syria to seek the chance to create a better life in Australia.

And they're already making their mark.

After just two years of learning to speak English, Saad graduated from one of Australia's largest Catholic secondary schools as the Dux of his year group and is now studying to be a doctor. His older brother Omar is already halfway through a business degree.

"I am really grateful for the Australian people to give me the opportunity to come here and study and give my family safety that we lacked in Syria and I just want to say that will work my hardest in Australia," Omar told the Q&A panel on Monday night.

Their story of escape from the Syrian city of Homs and the hard work they've put in while in Australia made headlines around the country in December and yet, both Saad and Omar don't understand why refugees like themselves who contribute to Australian society would ever be banned from living in Australia.

In light of U.S. President Donald Trump's Executive Order targeting Muslims and refugees, on Monday night Omar posed this question to Trump supporter and policy analyst Helen Andrews on Q&A, only to be told "it's cheaper" to move refugees within the Middle East.

"I want to ask... don't you feel guilty to put us with the bad guys in the same basket?" Omar asked.

Andrews' response? It's cheaper to relocate refugees in Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia than it is to relocate them into the United States or Australia.

"I think Donald Trump and all Americans want to help everyone in Syria as much as they can to the greatest extent that America can, but it is a simple fact that a dollar goes further helping refugees closer to the Middle East," she said.

"You can help 12 people in the Middle East for the price of resettling one person in the United States. So it really doesn't make sense if you are a humanitarian to concentrate on a few people winning the lottery when you could help 11 more people closer to the site."

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews didn't quite see eye-to-eye with the policy analyst, claiming Saad and Omar's story is one of many that show the strength of refugees and their abilities to repay Australia.

"Dual citizens because of their parentage, born here, have been caught up in this. I've had the great pleasure to meet these guys at Parliament House last year and this is one story among so many stories that in my role I am privileged to be able the hear," he said.

"Refugees [are] given an opportunity, a second chance, to build a new life and they repay us in spades and we are very proud of you and we are so pleased to have you here."

Research fellow at the Menzies Research Centre, Daisy Cousens also chimed in on the debate, saying the issue extended beyond the sentiment of individual stories, and is instead more focused on combating Islamic terror.

"This is not to do with race or religion. This is to do with radical Islamic terror, which is the political ideology associated with Islam which has absolutely nothing to do with you," she said.

Despite agreeing that Saad and Omar's story is inspiring, Cousens sided with Helen Andrews in the belief that relocation of refugees in the Middle East is a better option than the U.S. or Australia.

"Countries have a responsibility first and foremost to their own citizens... It is better to put them in Saudi Arabia. I am appalled at Saudi Arabia actually has done nothing to help this refugee crisis. These are their people."

Coming from the standpoint of the federal government, the Minister for Resources and Energy Josh Frydenberg stuck to his party line when it came to the two brothers and the refugee debate -- pointing out that Australia is different to Trump and the United States.

"We get demonised as a coalition for our immigration policy when, in reality, we take more people on a per capita basis from a resettlement from the UNHCR than any other nation in the world," he said.

"We have a non-discriminatory policy in our country. We have a proud humanitarian program and obviously this is a temporary issue that Donald Trump hopefully will work through in the weeks ahead."

Despite his party's policies, the reaction online to the Al-Kassab brothers was pretty vocal in its message -- they're now a part of Australia and Australians are proud of them.

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