George Takei poses for a portrait on Jan. 18, 2014 in Park City, Utah.
Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP

George Takei goes after mayor for refugee comparison


George Takei is going after a Virginia mayor who is citing the example of internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II to justify his call to ban Syrian refugees in his city.

Takei, a Japanese-American who was born in Los Angeles and sent to an internment camp with his family as a young child, took to Facebook on Wednesday to remind Mayor David Bowers of a few key points, including the fact that the vast majority taken into such internment camps were U.S. citizens.

“My family spent four years in prison camps because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. It is my life’s mission to never let such a thing happen in America again,” wrote the actor and activist.

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Bowers had said in a statement in calling for the ban on refugees that “I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and it appears that the threat of harm to America from ISIS now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.”

Takei hit back in his Facebook post. “There never was any proven incident of espionage or sabotage from the suspected ‘enemies’ then, just as there have been no act of terrorism from any of the 1,854 Syrian refugees the U.S. already has accepted,” he said.

His criticism comes as Bowers, a Democrat, joined more than half of the nation’s governors (all Republican except for one), in saying they either oppose accepting Syrian refugees or will not allow any more—either temporarily or permanently—into their states. The Obama Administration says it will continue, however, to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next year.

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Syria is believed to be one of the home bases of the terrorist group known as ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attacks, which killed more than 120 people and injured at least 350.

Critics of the call to prohibit Syrian refugees into the U.S. argue that the move to ban such immigrants is fear-mongering at its worst and note the slew of refugees who have been fleeing to Europe and other regions are by and large doing so to escape civil war and ISIS-related violence.