Should Middle East Religious-Minority Refugees Be Prioritized?

President Trump’s executive order on refugees has been widely, and rightly, criticized on policy and moral grounds. But while criticism of the executive order is indeed proper and necessary, one aspect of the new policy, namely, the prioritization of claims of religious persecution by religious minorities in refugee applications, which has received wide criticism, should in fact be hardly controversial. Critics of the measure have rejected it on both moral grounds—it discriminates based on one’s faith, as well as on practical ones—the perception of such bias toward Christians by the United States would impact the U.S. negatively and may harm those very same Christian communities in the region, who will be viewed as Western agents. These concerns are of course hardly new.

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Refugees, Xenophobia, and Islamist Politics: Two Letters

Mina Ahadi is an Iranian exile, living in Germany. She opposed the Shah as well as Khomeini. In 1990 she fled to the West. An adamant secularist, critical of all religion and therefore an opponent of Islamist politics, she does not appear to distinguish between “Islamic” and “Islamist” in her prose. She identifies herself as a communist, she is a leader in the “Central Committee of Former Muslims,” and she is a principled defender of human rights. In two recent open letters, she stakes out positions that not only provide insight into contemporary German political discussions but that are directly relevant to U.S. debates as well.

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Political Friendship and the Tension between Liberalism and Democracy

In his essay “Carl Schmitt on Friends, Enemies and the Political,” Andrew Norris inquires into the question that I have been interested in for quite some time: political friendship in Carl Schmitt’s political philosophy. Schmitt’s interpreters usually focus on the issue of enmity in his concept of the political, not least because Schmitt himself elaborates on the existential significance of political enmity much more extensively. From a conceptual point of view, however, political friendship should be viewed as at least equally relevant a part of Schmitt’s account of the political. The specific criterion of the political is famously the distinction “between friend and enemy,” not simply an indefatigable presence of political enmity. Norris should be lauded for his attempt to foreground a crucial, though still insufficiently explored, notion of a political (public) friend in Schmitt’s Concept of the Political.

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