Though at present all indications are that every single attacker in Friday’s Paris attacks was a European national with a passport from an EU member nation, the discovery of a Syrian passport at one of the sites fueled a lot of anti-refugee backlash across the world, including a flurry of US governors seeking to crack down on Syrian refugees.
According to German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, this probably wasn’t an accident, and rather the passport was likely a false flag operation meant to fuel fear of the refugees. It appears to have worked.
The passport belongs to Ahmad al-Mohammad, or at least that’s what it says. It is believed to be a forgery, though possibly also simply stolen. The man in question is a soldier loyal to the Assad government, and not a refugee.
The passport registration puts the fictional refugee through the primary Balkan route used by over 800,000 refugees to escape the war, and officials say it appears to be deliberately crafted to appear to be a common refugee, linking this non-existent attacker to everyone else who fled the war.
Since then, anti-refugee politicians have been presenting the narrative of a refugee terrorist as an unquestioned fact. The ISIS attempt to demonize refugees didn’t need to be convincing, it seems, to be lapped up by eager officials looking to stem the tide.