Watch Barack Obama take a stand against a religious test for refugees

The US president vowed today (Nov. 16) to continue taking in Syrian refugees, and called on the world’s biggest economies to do the same.

“Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values,” he said at the G20 summit in Turkey. “Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can and must do both.”

Obama added:

And when I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

Obama’s remarks were a rebuke to Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, who argued that the US should bar Muslim refugees and give preferential treatment to Christians. Cruz said on Sunday that it is “lunacy” to admit Muslim refugees, adding that “there is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror.” Bush said: “We should focus our efforts as it relates to refugees on the Christians that are being slaughtered.”

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