Kevin Nguyen: Durkheim and Refugees

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This article starts off by telling us a story about a Syrian refugee family that was rescued and brought to Rome by Pope Francis. Nur Essa was one of the Muslim woman that Pope Francis brought to Rome and she boldly states in the article that Pope Francis was not the man she expected him to be and it caught her by surprise. She was surprised at the fact that Pope Francis was very open to those of different faiths and that he was a “very, very modest, a very simple man, a very real human being”. Nur Essa says that her main struggle that she is dealing with now is to find a way to integrate herself in her new home of Rome.

Emile Durkheim’s idea of collective consciousness is the idea that religion brings different traits and characters of people together to unify them. Upon reading this article I was very intrigued about Pope Francis and what kind of role he plays in society. I found it very surprising that Pope Francis was very open to all religions being that he is the main pinnacle of Catholicism. He is such a key character to Catholicism that one would believe that he will uphold his teachings at all times displaying the superiority of Catholicism. Nur Essa is a Muslim that came from Syria which is a war-torn country so she is probably use to seeing religion being misused for acts of violence. So when she met Pope Francis she saw that he used religion to serve human beings. Using religion to serve human beings correlates with Durkheim’s idea to unite people to create a stronger solidarity in society. Pope Francis looked passed the fact that Nur Essa was a Muslim and saw her just as a human being with different beliefs in need of help. The last statement that Nur Essa shares in this article is that Pope Francis seeks to “create bridges” and not “walls”, I believe that this is a very important statement to get closer to achieving Durkheim’s idea of collective consciousness.


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