Unitarian Universalist Service Committee urges people to call Congress in support of Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS.
A boat of refugees arrives in Greece on October 2, 2015. (© Ben White/CAFOD; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
“The horrific terrorist attacks in France fill all good people with the deepest sadness,” said Unitarian Universalist Association President Peter Morales the morning after ISIS gunmen and suicide bombers killed 129 people in Paris on November 13. “May we all rededicate ourselves to waging peace based on compassion and respect.”
This week, Morales issued a second statement condemning a wave of American politicians—including the governors of thirty states—who have called for banning refugees from Syria. “Syrian refugee families fled their homes to escape the terror of both the Bashar al Assad regime and the ISIS militants,” he said November 19. “After their harrowing escapes into safer territories, these families are now facing more persecution and suffering as our nation turns its back on them and their plight. It is unconscionable.”
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee—which was founded to aid refugees during World War II—set up a tool to help people call Congress to voice support for Syrian refugees. The UUSC and the UUA have been raising money to assist refugees from Syria since September 11, 2015; learn more about the UUSC’s refugee programs.
UUSC President William F. Schulz said that calls by U.S. presidential candidates to close mosques, restrict refugee status to Christians, and bar Syrian refugees “are a betrayal of all that this country stands for.”
“UUSC will never relent either in our condemnation of terrorist violence or our abhorrence of ethnic and religious stereotyping and scapegoating,” Schulz said. “Refugees deserve our sympathy and embrace.”
The small UU Fellowship of Paris, which meets once a month in the 18th arrondissement, posted a short statement on Facebook the night of the attacks: “Our hearts go out to all those lives who have been forever changed by the acts of violence in our city tonight. Paris mourns the loss of so many.” The fellowship’s first worship service since the attacks will be held Sunday, November 22.
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Christopher L. Walton is editor of UU World. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Utah and is a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
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