The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is urging politicians and private citizens to avoid condemning Syrian refugees as a group.

The museum says in a statement issued Thursday that Americans "should not turn our backs on the thousands of legitimate refugees." The statement compared their plight to that of Jews who were unable to flee Nazism.

Several Republican presidential contenders have called on the United States to stop accepting refugees after last week's attacks in Paris by Islamic State militants. The House passed legislation Thursday that would essentially ban Syrian and Iraqi refugees from the U.S. President Barack Obama opposes the bill.

The statement from the museum notes that many refugees are fleeing the Islamic State and says "security concerns must be fully addressed" before they enter the U.S.