Bowling Green Refugee Reacts To Kellyanne Conway's Comments

Feb 3, 2017

Wisam Asal in the restaurant he owns.
Credit Becca Schimmel

A Bowling Green refugee and business owner says comments made by a senior advisor to President Trump about a so-called “Bowling Green Massacre” are hurtful to him and other refugees.

Kellyanne Conway used the expression in an interview Thursday to describe the 2011 arrests of two Iraqi citizens in Bowling Green on terrorism charges.There were no deaths related to the case. Conway said Friday that she misspoke and meant to say “Bowling Green terrorists”, not “massacre.”

Wisam Asal, an Iraqi refugee living in Warren County, says the “massacre” comments cast Bowling Green in a negative light.

 

“Bowling Green is welcome city to refugee people, and we have nice people here, and we need to keep this city welcome and peaceful for everybody,” Asal said.

Asal resettled to Bowling Green in 2010 after working as a translator for the US Army in Iraq. He says his life was threatened as a result of that work, which helped him earn refugee status. He’s now owns a Middle Eastern restaurant and international grocery store and said he only ever feels homesick for the home he’s made in Warren County.

 

He said most Iraqis are good, peaceful people who have no problems living with others, no matter where they’re from. He says the “massacre” comment and the recent travel ban ordered by President Trump have refugees feeling like targets.

 

“I hope one day or in the future, people will have good idea about our refugee people, and these decisions will be directed against the bad people, not the innocent people,” Asal said.