Beloved British actor Sir Ian McKellen called on the world community to take care of refugees fleeing war-torn Middle Eastern countries like Syria in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, which prompted a xenophobic backlash from some, including U.S. lawmakers.
Speaking to Larry King on Ora TV, McKellen called refugees who cross borders looking for security and safety not available in their home countries “brave, brave people.”
“I think they should be looked after and cared for until such a time that they go home, which is what most of them want to do I think,” McKellen told King, according to The Hill. “At the moment on the northern coast of France, trying to get into England, are over 6,000 refugees who have walked across half the world to get there. Most of the people don’t want to come to the West – they want to stay in their own country but they can’t because there’s a terrible civil war going on in Syria.”
President Obama has vowed to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees seeking asylum from the bloody civil war raging in their home country, which has been met with vocal opposition from lawmakers who say doing so would put Americans at risk. Currently about 30 predominantly Republican state governors are freezing the resettling program, and trying to “pause” the process of opening U.S. borders to asylum seekers, The Hill reports.
But McKellen said while what happened in Paris was terrible, that doesn’t mean the world should abandon its responsibility to help people fleeing such violence.
“It’s a terrible event, but there are many terrible events around it, aren’t there?” McKellen said of the Paris attacks. “Well, that’s the risk you take. I think our answer is to carry on.”
Watch part of the exchange, via Ora TV, here: