Refugees

Image via RNS/Reuters/Kate Munsch

Despite President Trump’s threat of a “Muslim ban” during the 2016 campaign, Hadil Mansoor Al-Mowafak, a 20-year-old international affairs student at Stanford University, was taken aback when he banned travel from seven Muslim countries, including Yemen, where her husband lives.

“I didn’t think it was even possible,” Al-Mowafak said. “I thought he just used the Muslim ban during his campaign, and once he took power he’d face reality.”

Tim Brauhn 02-08-2017

Refugees threaten to reduce us to a holy nothing. In so doing, they free us from our own selfish pursuits. And that is scary.

Stephen Mattson 02-06-2017

Instead of classifying people as refugees, immigrants, “illegal” immigrants, Muslims, Iranians, or whatever other association we use to judge people, God wants us to see humanity as fellow loved ones, children of God.

Image via Jerome Socolovsky/ RNS 

True, the executive order, which includes a restriction on travel to the U.S. for nationals of seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days, does not directly refer to followers of Islam. But that doesn’t mean it’s not aimed at them, critics say. 

 

Image via RNS/Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

Pope Francis called for greater compassion for refugees and marginalized people less than a week after President Trump ordered a temporary immigration ban from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Image Via Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

In other comments published Monday, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Baghdad also said Trump’s policy of preferential immigration for Christians was a “trap” and would “create and feed” tensions with Muslims. 

Image via RNS/Reuters/Muhammad Hamed

“We were wrong.”

That’s how former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns summarized one of the most notorious episodes in the history of American refugee policy. In 1939, the MS Saint Louis carried 937 Jewish refugees towards our shores. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration denied the ship access to the U.S. and forced it to return to Europe. A third of the passengers died at Auschwitz and other concentration camps.

Ihsan Ibraheem 01-30-2017

Most parents wonder if what they teach their children is sinking in, if the values they try to model are becoming part of their character.

Zahra’a’s parents don’t have to wonder. The first thing she did when her family received their packet of relief aid — the first aid they’d received in three years of displacement and conflict — was to turn to our staff member, whom she’d never met before, and invite him to lunch.

the Web Editors 01-27-2017

1. What Will You Do if Donald Trump Deports Me?
“If you are an ally, a friend, or a decent human being who understands that immigrants and refugees work hard, play by the rules and are proud aspiring Americans, then read this guide.”

2. Here’s How Franklin Graham Justifies Trump’s Expected Refugee Ban
“It’s not a biblical command for the country to let everyone in who wants to come, that’s not a Bible issue.” :thinking:

the Web Editors 01-26-2017

The draft text of the order, like much of Trump's campaign rhetoric, uses the language of domestic security, couched in tear of terrorism. This is dramatically out of proportion with the actual statistics on crime among immigrants and refugees, when in reality, newcomers to the U.S. commit far less crime than those born here.

Image via Shutterstock 

“We stand in a long tradition of radical hospitality. From the underground railroad to this very day, we have welcomed the stranger, sheltered the refugee, offered safe home, resisted racism, fear, and exclusion. We will not be silent if families are torn apart, children terrified, parents detained. We are not accomplices to hate or reactionary fear. Our calling is to love and justice and faithful resistance. We will open our hearts, we will open our doors, to those who face the threat of deportation. All are welcome, period.” – The Rev. Victoria Safford, lead minister, White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, Mahtomedi, Minn.

Stephen Mattson 01-25-2017

For the last few years Christians have been singing worship songs that include lyrics like “ keep my eyes above the waves, when oceans rise …” and yet have rejected refugees who’ve seen loved ones die beneath waves, who themselves have literally struggled to keep from drowning in oceans. Those American Christians — particularly white evangelicals — continue to sing the words: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders …” but fail to realize the shameful irony that they’re largely responsible for refusing shelter and opportunity to some of the world’s most helpless and oppressed people.

Kim Hjelmgaard 12-21-2016

Flowers and posters are placed at the scene where a truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 20, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

The deadly truck rampage through a Christmas market crowd here marked a new setback for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hopes for political survival at a time when opposition is growing over her open-door policy for migrants.

n refugees from Aleppo

Syrian refugees from Aleppo wait at the refugee camp in Essalame, Syria on Feb. 2, 2016. kafeinkolik / Shutterstock.com

On Dec. 14, Syrian pro-government forces breached the fragile ceasefire agreement, shelling besieged neighborhoods of Aleppo and banning civilians from fleeing. Addressing Syria, Iran, and Russia, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, asked, “Are you incapable of shame? … Is there no execution of a child that gets under your skin? Is there literally nothing that shames you?”

Jim Wallis 12-15-2016

Many people are still reeling from the election results and become more appalled every day with the appointments and behavior of the President -elect Donald Trump.

And many of our Sojourners readers are asking themselves and us: What can I do?

The politics going on now are indeed beyond our control — but we can control what we do with our own faith and with our own actions.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Umit Bektas

As Pope Francis officially opened this year’s Christmas Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square, he said Jesus was a “migrant” who reminds us of the plight of today’s refugees.

Francis told donors who contributed both the Nativity set and an 82-foot tree that the story of Jesus’ birth echoes the “tragic reality of migrants, on boats, making their way toward Italy,” from the Middle East and Africa today.

the Web Editors 12-06-2016

Image via 360b/Shutterstock.com

On Dec. 6 German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for face-covering veils to be banned in Germany, reports the Washington Post.

“The full veil is not appropriate here, it should be forbidden wherever that is legally possible,” said Merkel, speaking to attendees of the Christian Democratic Union's conference

Image via /Shutterstock.com

For years after my experience working with UNHCR, I struggled with secondary trauma, with the heavy weight of so many terrible stories swirling in my mind, causing flashbacks, numbness, and anger. As UNHCR resettlement worker, I made decisions about the lives of war survivors and afterward I couldn’t shake the weight of power I wielded in that tiny interview room. But simply being a neighbor, a person who returns wrongly delivered mail and waves from across our picket fence, a person who delivers cookies at Christmas time and receives piping hot sambusas in return, has been healing for me. I count it as one of my life’s greatest joys to live next door to my Somali neighbors.

Alexandra Markovich 11-03-2016

Image via RNS/Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis/File Photo

A population exchange with Turkey after World War I brought in over a million ethnic Greeks as refugees. When the new migration crisis began last year, there was empathy for the new arrivals, with many Greeks recalling what their grandparents went through.

But even given that proud history, academics and volunteers fear that the warm welcome of the last year could wear thin, when the refugees start to integrate in a nation that has long resisted a multifaith identity.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Osservatore Romano

Even by this pope’s standards it was a bold move.

Francis, the spiritual leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics across the globe, this week traveled to Sweden, one of the most secularized countries in Europe, to take part in events marking 500 years since Martin Luther kickstarted the Protestant Reformation.

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