Ravalli County commissioners approve letter of concern about Syr - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Ravalli County commissioners approve letter of concern about Syrian refugees

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Huindreds turned out for a hearing in Hamilton (MTN News photo) Huindreds turned out for a hearing in Hamilton (MTN News photo)
(MTN News photo) (MTN News photo)
(MTN News photo) (MTN News photo)
(MTN News photo) (MTN News photo)

Ravalli County commissioners will tell the federal government they're concerned about the risks of bringing Syrian refugees to the Bitterroot if a better job isn't done "vetting" those seeking relocation.

The commissioners knew they would have a lot of people show up to comment on plans to send a letter expressing security concerns to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI over relocating refugees in Montana.

But when hundreds of people packed the board room, the hearing had to be relocated not just once, but twice.  And when the mic was turned on the crowd was ready to unload a stream of fear, outrage and religious and political criticism.

""The United States may not be at war with Islam, but Islam is at war with the United States!" one person said.

"They pray five times a day. Are we going to have the mosque calling the prayer call in the Bitterroot? (no! no!)," added another.

"And guess who's gonna pay?" "Us!". "Dang right, it's us," a third person said.

"What are they going to say to the first victim's family? What are they going to say when these people start attacking your children, your daughter, your mother, your sisters?" was one question asked.

"Terrorism is real. We are unprepared to handle it. And especially in Ravalli County," a person added.

While most supported the commissioners' letter, some in the audience tried to argue the Bitterroot had a "morale obligation" to help the refugees…

"The Syrian refugees are among the most persecuted people on Earth right now? We have a moral and ethical obligation to accept these people who are our brothers and our sisters!" one participant said.

"But if the Bitterroot Valley doesn't diversify a little bit we're not going to be special anymore. And our economy is not going to work either," another person commented.

"I support finding a safe place for refugees fleeing from the horrors of terrorism," a person stated.

"Keep them not just out of Ravalli County. Not just Hamilton, but the whole U.S. Keep them out. Do whatever you can. God bless you," said another.

The comment, "this is about setting the stage so that there will be battle In Ravalli County, so that ISIS will come after our women. And unfortunately in Ravalli County women pack weapons," was met with cheers from the large crowd.

Commissioners decided to make some small changes to the letter and then approved the document by unanimous vote.

Ravalli commissioners said they drafted the letter in response to Missoula County's letter supporting refugee relocation. 

RELATED: Hundreds show up to comment on Ravalli refugee letter

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