Relaymedia

Christian Groups Takes Lead Assisting Syrian Refugees; Obama Wants U.S. to Accept More

( [email protected] ) Sep 11, 2015 03:12 AM EDT
A broad coalition of religious groups from Mennonites, Arabs and Muslims, led by Christian churches across Canada are combining their efforts in a mad rush effort to assist the millions of Syrian refugees caught in the bloody civil war in the country and the persecution from Isis terrorists.
A Syrian refugee holds onto his daughter as he waits to cross into Turkey at Akcakale border gate in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

A broad coalition of religious groups from Mennonites, Arabs and Muslims, led by Christian churches across Canada are combining their efforts in a mad rush effort to assist the millions of Syrian refugees caught in the bloody civil war in the country and the persecution from Isis terrorists.

The Globe and Mail said that Christian churches in Manitoba have joined forces with Arab and Islamic groups to combine their know-how with contacts and cultural knowledge within the Arab and Muslim communities. Similar partnerships are also being reported in Ontario involving churches from big cities to small villages.

The unprecedented move is aimed at finding ways to find relief to the estimated four million Syrian refugees fleeing the country which is ravaged by years of civil war, in one of the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. Syrian refugees are fleeing their country and are now scattered in various camps and cities across the Middle East, with some braving overcrowded ships to make their way into Europe.

The faith-based groups have taken the initiative to do more to the people of Syria as Western governments are still debating on what to do with the mass exodus of people out of Syria.

Ayub Umarji, a board member of the Islamic Family and Social Services Association, commented, "I think the Mennonites were a ray of light; they brought hope to the table." Islamic Facility has partnered with the Mennonite Central Committee in this effort.

The Christian group is not new to assisting people involved in mass conflict. Since the 1970s, the group sponsored over 70,000 refugees fleeing conflict in Southeast Asia. But this is a new territory for the Islamic Association who only started involving themselves in such efforts only in August 2014 through outreach programs and offering counseling support.

For the Christian group, it was familiar ground: It has sponsored more than since the 1970s, many of them belonging to a wave of refugees fleeing conflict in Southeast Asia. But for the Islamic association it was new territory, getting involved in August, 2014 through outreach program and offering counselling support to newcomers.

"Eventually, 21 churches that are part of the presbytery joined in to help. But it was reaching out to the Muslim community and partnering with the Islamic Society of Kingston that proved a turning point - and not just for fundraising. One of the members of the Islamic group had two separate groups of relatives living in a refugee camp in Jordan and in a cramped basement room in Lebanon. One family has arrived; the other is expected on Sept. 24," the report said.

Obama Wants U.S. to Accept More Syrian Refugees

In the U.S., President Barack Obama on Thursday said his administration is drawing up plans to accept an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees, a significant jump from the first 1,500 Syrians already approved to resettle in the country since war broke out four years ago.

The White House said Obama wants the plan to be included in next year's budget following pressure for the U.S. to do more about the growing crisis. Millions of Syrians are risking their lives and thousands have perished in their desperate attempts to seek haven in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

However, the additional Syrian refugees to be admitted in the U.S. are those who are already in the pipeline waiting to resettle there. Those who are trying to find their way through eastern Europe will not qualify under the program.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the U.S. has already allocated around $4 billion to be distributed to relief agencies is the most effective way the U.S. can address the Syrian refugee crisis. But Obama wants the U.S. to do more by accepting more Syrian refugees in next year's budget.

 

Tags : syrian refugees, christian groups, islamic group, christian churches, church coalition, muslim group, arab groups, humanitarian crisis, unprecedented crisis, syrian civil war, isis terror group, Mennonites, u.s. president barack obama, u.s. resettlement, western countries, Middle East, eastern europe, en masse, mass exodus, Josh Earnest, relief agencies, fund raising, counselling, outreach program