A few months ago on Christmas Eve, Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal walked into Mani- toba in freezing
conditions. They had independently fled Ghana and claimed refugee protection in Canada. Mohammed lost all his fingers due to
frostbite. Because of his injuries he
can no longer play soccer. He plans
instead to coach children’s soccer.
Like Mohammed and Iyal, 1,860
asylum seekers walked across the
Canadian–U.S. border in the first
three months of 2017, seeking refuge in Canada.
Mostly, Canadians are welcoming these newcomers. Manitoba,
for example, is opening 14 new
emergency housing shelters for
asylum seekers. These new initiatives join a long Canadian tradition
of offering support and friendship
to displaced people.
There have also been negative
responses from some politicians and
journalists, some raising good questions that require careful consideration, others that seem calculated
merely to score political points.
This range from welcome to re-
sistance shouldn’t surprise us. The
Canadian population as a whole
vacillates between “notoriously
short-lived carnivalesque explo-
sions of solidarity and care,” to use
the words of philosopher Zigmunt
Bauman, and on the other hand
“refugee fatigue” and even “refugee
The photo of the body of Alan
Kurdi, a drowned Syrian boy,
springboarded an extraordinary
level of global awareness, mostly
through Facebook shares. Yet with-
in months the real human tragedy
that continued to unfold in the
Mediterranean Sea had turned into
dull routine, at least as far as Face-
book was concerned.
What is a biblical response?
How Canadian Christians can respond to refugees
crossing the border BY LOREN BALISK Y AND MARK GLANVILLE
Refugees walk along railway tracks from the United States to enter Canada at Emerson, Man. in February.