— SyrianCulturalHouse (@syriaculture) October 10, 2017
A Syrian opposition filmmaker, who resides in Reston, was apparently the target of an assassination attempt Tuesday in Istanbul.
According to the Middle East Eye, Muhammad Bayazid was stabbed in the chest while meeting potential investors for his new film project, which focuses on Syria’s notorious Tadmor prison. The film tells the story of a Syrian-American man unjustly imprisoned and tortured there.
The prison was destroyed by the Islamic State in 2015.
another attack against Syrian opposition figure in Turkey..
Director Mohammad Bayazid was stabbed hours ago in Istanbul, hope he survives
— diana moukalled (@dianamoukalled) October 11, 2017
Bayazid’s LinkedIn page shows he lives in Reston and is owner of DC-based LightArt Media Productions.
He and his wife, Samah Safi Bayazid, have a short film scheduled to be shown in Reston later this month as part of the Washington West Film Festival. “Fireplace” will be shown Oct. 27 and 28 at Bowtie Cinemas (11940 Market St.). Bayazid and his wife are advertised to be participating in question-and-answer sessions following the screenings.
According to the description of that film:
Inspired by true events. It is Christmas Eve in Syria. A small kid plays hide and seek with his dad, picking the most unexpected place to hide — the fireplace. As a jet fighter bombards the house, the fireplace stands. But now, the child finds himself trapped and alone.
Bayazid is in intensive care following the attack, the BBC reports.
Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova said the acceptance of refugees remains a federal decision — but she hopes if people do relocate here they will be treated with compassion and support.
“The acceptance or banning of refugees in local and state jurisdictions is a federal decision,” Bulova said in an email. “It is important for the federal government to ensure the safety of the American people through security and background checks to the greatest extent possible.”
“Refugees are human beings — families and children — fleeing from dangerous and tragic situations. Syrian refugees who may be relocated to Fairfax County should be treated with compassion and received with the support Fairfax County is known for. “
Arlington County officials said this week they are ready and willing to accept refugees. That’s one side of the divisive issue that is polarizing many elected officials thousands of miles away from the civil war in Syria.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said earlier this week he would not join with more than two dozen governors, mostly Republicans, to attempt to block Syrian refugees from seeking asylum in the Commonwealth.
However, several state legislators said they will legislation in the upcoming 2016 General Assembly session that would block an influx of refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war.
The statements came in response to last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed more than 100 people.
“This legislation is being proposed in response to recent terrorist attacks in France, as we have seen radicals use the refugee crisis as a means to enter other countries,” Del. Timothy D. Hugo, (R-Fairfax), said in a statement. “Before we can allow further resettlement in Virginia, we must have full confidence in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its procedures. Virginia is a welcoming state, but our first priority is the safety of our citizens.”
Other lawmakers backing the measure are Dels. C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), Gregory D. Habeeb (R-Salem), and G. Manoli Loupassi (R-Richmond).
Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston, says the issue is “representing the worst of politics of division and fear.”
“As a state, we should be focusing on domestic terrorism — access to guns,” said Plum.
Plum said he has not thought about introducing state legislation advocating for housing refugees (which really falls under federal responsibility anyway). He said if Hugo’s bill advances in the January session, he may “say something,” however.
President Barack Obama has said the United States should accept up to 10,000 displaced Syrians. However, last week’s terrorist attack in Paris has caused new concern about Islamic radicals being allowed into other countries.
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) says the U.S. government must protect the safety of its residents, but should be open to allowing in refugees who have passed background checks.
“The horrific attacks in Paris and Beirut last week – and a direct threat to Washington soon after – are a grim reminder that ISIL is not going away. Our national security and the safety of the American people will always be my top priority,” Kaine said in a statement.
“Our first priority must always be to protect the safety and security of American citizens. But I am very disappointed in the xenophobic response from governors across the country who vowed to keep Syrian families who have passed rigorous background checks from entering their states — refugees who are fleeing the very same violence and terror that we saw on the streets of Paris last week. “
Thus far, Virginia has not been a big destination for refugees, though local counties and charities are participating in a blanket drive to send supplies to Europe, where most of the refugees are located.
Since the beginning of 2012, 24 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Virginia, according to the Refugee Processing Center, part of the U.S Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
Thirteen placements have occurred in 2015. Falls Church, Burke and Charlottesville have seen had six each. Two refugees have settled in Newport News, Roanoke and Centreville. None have relocated to Reston.
Photo: Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova collects blankets for Syrian refugees/Courtesy Fairfax County