DAVOS, Switzerland — Less than two months ago, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau captured the world's attention as he welcomed a plane of Syrian refugees with open arms, declaring, "You are home. Welcome home."
On Thursday in Davos, Switzerland, at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, Trudeau pulled no punches as he vigorously defended the Canadian government's decision to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February.
Speaking before a gathering of the group Global Shapers, Trudeau outlined a broad vision of tolerance and inclusion as he described his decision to welcome refugees to Canada.
"I wanted to remind Canadians of who we are," Trudeau said. "We, as a country, have succeeded by welcoming in people from different parts of the world in different times."
One sentence in particular jumped out:
"If we can highlight how Islam is not incompatible with free and open western democracies, that's a nice punch in the face to ISIL," Trudeau said, referring to the Islamic State militant group, also known as ISIS.
A refreshing reminder: Trudeau's statement is significant and serves as a stark and welcome departure from the rhetoric emanating from the presidential campaign trail in the United States. Most notably, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has called for a ban on Muslims entering the country.
Welcoming refugees, standing up to Islamophobia and creating an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding toward Islam are considered some of the most important things the West can do to defeat ISIS. Trudeau clearly understands this, and made his views known loud and clear.
"We have to be optimistic and hopeful and inclusive about the future," Trudeau said. "It doesn't mean being naive. It means being smart about security, but also understanding these refugees are fleeing violence, not trying to bring it with them."
President Barack Obama articulated this sentiment in his State of the Union earlier in January, and politicians across the West would be wise to take note of Trudeau's remarks as they consider their own policies toward the refugee crisis.
If only Trump were listening.
Watch Trudeau's full remarks here: