Middle East is focus at BSU's Church Conference

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jan 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-16 20:09:04-05

The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program is currently under fire.

On Friday, a guest speaker at Boise State University's Frank Church Conference warns to not believe everything you hear regarding turmoil in the Middle East, which led to the refugee fall out in the first place.

The panel discussion was focused on the ISIS crisis with ideas circulating on how we, as Americans, should respond.

Some say Americans are too far removed from the issue and let fear pass judgment on all of Islam.

"Another reason to be afraid is just that it probably can't be solved in our lifetimes but the process has to begin at some point," says Scott Ludwig, a BSU junior.

Ludwig, who is a political science major, says it's a scary topic to explore but one that has a rippling affect. He sees value in getting educated on a complicated issue that's been ongoing for years now.

After hearing from the panel speakers, Ludwig walked away with a certain level of optimism.

"I feel like I understand better what caused the crisis," he says. "To hear that ISIS is decreasing in territory, that's helpful."

Dr. Nader Hashemi, Center for Middle East Studies director at the University of Denver, talked about those causes and attributed the rise of the ISIS terrorist group to the broken politics of the Middle East.

Talk of banning Muslims in America, or setting up internment camps for Muslims-Americas similar to that of the Japanese-Americans after W.W.II, is something he thinks will only make matters worse.

"There is a lot of Islam-phobia in this country at this moment," Hashemi says. "There's a lot of people, according to opinion polls, who think that Islams and Muslims are fundamentally un-American. So, I think one has to resist the easy temptation to try and explain the problems in the Middle East as a function of one particular religion."

The 32nd Annual Frank Church Conference picks back up on Monday night with a dinner and keynote address by former secretary of defense Leon Panetta.