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Missourians react to U.S. strike against Syria

Amina Mohamed doesn’t consider herself a politically motivated person.

Mohamed came to Missouri in the mid-1990s from Somalia, moving to Columbia in 2006. She said she wanted a quiet place to raise her children, which has come to fruition so far. Mohamed runs two businesses in town, including Bliss Adult Day Care on Providence Road, started last year. While that business thrives, Mohamed can’t help but feel for the families in the Syria suffering in civil war.

“I could not watch those pictures,” Mohamed said of the reports regarding chemical weapons used by the Syrian government this week. “I could not watch those kids take their last breaths. I cannot imagine what those people that are there, what they’re going through.”

The suspected use of chemical weapons spurred President Donald Trump to action, ordering the launch of nearly 60 missiles at an air base Thursday. Six died and more than a dozen planes were destroyed, according to the Syrian army on Friday. The president said the use of chemical weapons by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad needed a military response in kind.

“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children,” President Trump said. “Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack.”

Mohamed agreed with Trump’s thinking. She believed the images from Syria moved the president the same way it moved her.

“It could have been his grandkids, it could have been one of his family members,” Mohamed said. “A clear message has to be sent to Bashar al-Assad – he needs to leave and he needs to step down.”

Mohamed admits she has been conflicted in her feelings towards President Trump’s actions. Twice he has tried to ban people from Syria and Mohamed’s home country of Somalia from entering the U.S., which federal courts have rejected. Mohamed said she was shocked the first time she heard of the travel restriction. She knows one woman in Columbia awaiting the arrival of her Somali husband, currently residing in a refugee camp in Uganda. Mohamed supports “extreme vetting” of people trying to move to the U.S., but had a simple message when it came to those that passed.

“Absolutely allow them,” she said. “Give them the chance. Give those kids the chance.”

ABC 17 News also spoke to other Middle Eastern families and an MU political science professor about the U.S. attack on Syria.

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