#Trending: Lebanese say no to xenophobia against Syrians refugees

#Trending: Lebanese say no to xenophobia against Syrians refugees

2 min read
02 Jul, 2016
Lebanese on social media have called for an end to xenophobia against Syrian refugees after a mob attacked a group of Syrians this week.
Many Lebanese hold deeply rooted prejudices towards Syrians [Getty]

Lebanese have taken to social media to voice support for Syrian refugees in the wake of reports of "revenge attacks" against Syrians following a series of suicide attacks in a border village.

Lebanese Twitter users have rallied against "racism" against Syrians after a mob beat up Syrian refugees in the town of Hrajel in an apparent reprisal for the recent attacks in al-Qaa, thought to have been carried out by Islamic State group [IS] militants.

Lebanon has been on high alert since nine bombs exploded in the eastern border village of al-Qaa on Monday, killing five residents.

More than one million Syrians have sought refuge in Lebanon from the devastating conflict in their homeland that has killed more than 280,000 people.

But once in Lebanon, they face a whole new set of challenges including finding adequate shelter, paying for residency papers, and feeling discriminated against by people in general.

Many Lebanese hold deeply rooted prejudices towards Syrians, some as a legacy of the Syrian army's nearly 30-year presence in the country, and others out of fear they will take lower-income jobs and put people out of work.

The Arabic-language hashtag #RefugeesAreNotTerrorists has recently gained traction on Twitter following reports of xenophobic attacks.

Translation: "[Syrians] are guests because of the security situation in their country. They aren't refugees and definitely not terrorists. Terrorism has nothing to do with nationality; it has to do with a twisted way of thinking."

Translation: "In the past, it was standard practice was to show respect and treat your guests well. Now in Lebanon politicians are racing each other to incite against Syrian refugees."

Translation: "His innocent smile hides his sadness. Despite his young age he puts his dignity ahead of anything, while you so easily accuse him of being a terrorist."

Violence from neighbouring Syria's devastating civil war has on occasion spilled into Lebanon's border regions.

IS and al-Qaida militants briefly seized the Lebanese border town of Arsal in 2014, before security forces pushed them back across the frontier.