Statement from Gov. Jay Inslee regarding the Paris terrorist attacks and anti-Muslim rhetoric

November 16, 2015


“Last week the world witnessed the latest in a series of atrocities committed by the terrorist organization ISIS. It was an attack not just on Paris or the French people but on all humanity.

“First and foremost we stand with the people of Paris and those in Beirut and elsewhere who have been attacked by the evil that is ISIS. ISIS is a terrorist organization, one that must be destroyed and erased from this planet. I am glad to see U.S. forces acting strongly in Syria today.

“Sadly, in the wake of these attacks, many people channel their fear and anger against ISIS into fear and anger against Muslims. At a time when millions of Syrian families are attempting to flee ISIS and seek refuge in safer parts of the world, including the United States, there are some who say it’s time to close our doors to people whose lives are in peril.

“I stand firmly with President Obama who said this morning, ‘We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.’

“Washington will continue to be a state that welcomes those seeking refuge from persecution, regardless of where they come from or the religion they practice. We have been and will continue to be a state that embraces compassion and eschews fear mongering, as evidenced so well by Republican Gov. Dan Evans’ welcoming of Vietnamese refugees here in the 1970s.

“It’s important to note that governors do not decide whether refugees come to their states. Those decisions are made by the federal government, and the U.S. State Department has a robust system in place to evaluate and place families who seek refugee status.

“That makes these anti-refugee comments by governors even more troublesome and of little value except to divide people and foment intolerance.”

Media Contact 

The Washington State Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance coordinates with the U.S. State Department regarding refugee resettlement in Washington state. For more information, contact Sarah Peterson at 360.725.4543.

Governor Inslee's Communications Office:
Jaime Smith