MFA Religious Leaders Statement on Welcoming Refugees

By meeting its target of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees five weeks early, the Administration has laudably enacted a central tenet of many great religions: to care for the stranger and ameliorate human suffering, and we urge continuing efforts to bring in significantly more desperate persons at a steady, effective and safe pace. But allowing them in is not enough. We can’t allow the refugees to remain strangers. We need to now focus on integration of the new refugees. The resettlement agencies are the first step in finding housing and work. But, true on-boarding requires more than that. Civil society groups – such as the nearly 70 faith-based and secular organizations that make up the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees – have an important role to play in welcoming refugees. The 86,000 Syrian immigrants that have long been in the U.S. have proven to be a highly educated and skilled population who are contributing members of society (among them, 4,000 medical doctors). The 10,000 compatriots who are now joining them can be as well. Their greatest needs are education, language training, and trauma counseling so that they can succeed in their new country and be strangers no more.

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Serene Jones

President

Union Theological Seminary

Bruce Knotts

Director

Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office

Rev. Marcos Miranda

President

New York State Chaplain Task Force

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik

Executive Vice President

New York Board of Rabbis

Dr. Satpal Singh

Former Chairperson

World Sikh Council

Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed National Director

Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances Islamic Society of North America

Very Rev. Dr. Nathanael Symeonides

Director, Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical, and Interfaith Relations

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Imam Shadi Zaza

President

Rahma Relief Foundation

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