ACTION ALERT – ADAMS and National Interfaith Responses to Executive Order Banning Refugees and Immigrants

The All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) calls for compassion and urges continuing acceptance of peaceful Syrian refugees and peaceful immigrants from all countries. We all support our national security and we also want to prevent anyone from harming our nation. 
We appreciate the statements and actions of National Christian and Jewish groups including: Shoulder to Shoulder Interfaith Campaign, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, Catholic Relief Services, Church World Service, Jewish Community Relations Council( JCRC) of Greater Washington, Interfaith Alliance, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Alliance of Baptists, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Council of Churches, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, Presbyterian Church (USA), Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Sojourners, T’ruah (The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights), National Council of Jewish Women , Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Interfaith Immigration Coalition, and more.  
We also support and urge all our congregation members to the following:
ACTION ALERT:
PLEASE CALL THE WHITE HOUSE AND CONGRESS TODAY!
President Trump: (866) 961-4293
Your Senators and Representatives: (202) 224-3121*
*Please call this line 3 times to be connected with your 1 Representative and 2 Senators
Along with our fellow Americans, we are heartbroken by the Syrian Refugee Crisis which affects both Muslims and Christians, who are fleeing ISIS violent extremism and the unimaginable brutality of a despotic dictatorship. 
We wholeheartedly condemn terrorism and violent extremism, and have partnered with the FBI, DHS and all Law Enforcement in protecting our country for the past 15 years.  We will continue to help in national security.  
This Executive Order is simply unnecessary.  We  agree with CNN’s national security analyst, Peter Bergen, Vice President at New America and a professor at Arizona State University, that “there is no evidence of terrorists among Syrian refugees to the United States”. 
America’s refugee vetting process is very detailed and requires almost 24 months of vetting and processing. Over the past four decades the United States has processed more than three million refugees, who are the single most scrutinized and vetted travelers to our nation, each undergoing more than seven security intelligence Agency checks, including biometric tests, medical screenings and in-person interviews with Department of Homeland Security officials.
This is far more detailed and secure than the screening of any European tourists visiting America.  We note that most of the alleged Paris attackers were European citizens born in France or Belgium, whose French or Belgian passport would not need screening or a visa; by contrast, any Syrian refugee must pass multiple careful tests to enter the USA.
We therefore pray that these most vulnerable refugees, including women, children, elderly and families are helped as they continue to be appropriately examined and confirmed.  We urge that Muslims, Christians and people of all faiths and backgrounds from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen be allowed into the USA through the refugee process. We also agree that security enhancements should be enacted as needed to vet refugees more carefully.
ISIS does not want refugees to leave Syria and find a better life in America. Those refugees who successfully come to countries like America will send powerful messages that in fact completely demolish ISIS’ claims of a clash with the West, and strengthen our fight against extremism.    
We should never forsake our cherished American ideals, but rather help Syrian and all refugees with America’s world renowned compassion.  By working together, the International community can end the Syrian conflict peacefully so the nearly 5 million Syrian refugees can return to rebuild their homes and their nation.
We are therefore would like to highlight the following Christian, Jewish and Interfaith statements and action alerts: 
1.  Shoulder to Shoulder Interfaith Campaign – Catherine Orsborn, Executive Director:  http://www.shouldertoshouldercampaign.org/
In my own upbringing in an evangelical Christian community, I learned early on that loving my neighbor (as well as my enemy), and seeking to come alongside “the least of these” were core to live out the message of Jesus in the world.  (As) a student of the history of religious and racial prejudice in our nation, I am convinced the patriotic and Christian response is to stand alongside refugees fleeing unimaginable conditions to find safety, rest, and opportunity on these shores. To ban any person based on their religious identity flies in the face of America’s promise of religious and racial equality. Not only is it immoral, but it does nothing to make us more safe. People of faith and moral conviction should take every step to oppose this action. 

2.
  
Interfaith Immigration Coalition Action Alert 

3.
  
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration  http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-026.cfm:
We strongly disagree with the Executive Order’s halting refugee admissions. We believe that now more than ever, welcoming newcomers and refugees is an act of love and hope. We will continue to engage the new administration, as we have all administrations for the duration of the current refugee program, now almost forty years. We will work vigorously to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed in collaboration with Catholic Charities without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans, and to ensure that families may be reunified with their loved ones.
Our elected officials have an obligation to protect the security of the American people, and take concerns about security seriously. But denying entry to people desperate enough to leave their homes, cross oceans in tiny boats, and abandon all their worldly possessions just to find safety will not make our nation safer. The United States is already using a thorough vetting process for refugeesespecially for those from Syria and surrounding countries.  CRS welcomes measures that will make our country safer, but it shouldn’t jeopardize the safety of those fleeing violence, nor add appreciable delay nor entail unjust discrimination. As Pope Francis has said: “Fear…weakens and destabilizes us, destroys our psychological and spiritual defenses, numbs us to the suffering of others.” We have a moral obligation to ’welcome the stranger’. Our faith compels us to do so.

5.
  Church World Service – Rev. John L. McCullough, President/CEO:
Church World Service is staunchly opposed and gravely disheartened by this callous, discriminatory decision, which turns our backs on refugees when they are most in need of safety. Make no mistakeby restricting access to resettlement for Syrians, President Trump is manifesting the “Muslim ban” that he threatened on the campaign trail. My heart is heavy for Syrian refugees who believed our promise to them; for their family members who are here and desperately waiting to be reunited with their sister, brother, parent or child; and for the very soul of this nation.

6. 
 
Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington:
President Donald Trump’s order to restrict many tens of thousands of helpless refugees from seeking safety in America, and also barring visas from being issued to anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, betrays the Jewish and American values we cherish. This shouldn’t be a partisan or political issue; welcoming refugees is part of what has truly made America great. Our nation has a centuries-long tradition of opening its shores to the oppressed. The Torah teaches, ‘You shall not wrong or oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.’ Our history as Jews, and of repeatedly fleeing persecution, makes us sensitive to and compassionate for those who suffer similar fates and experiences and we believe that refugees should be treated with compassion and dignity. The Jewish community must make our voice heard and stand up for our values.

7.
  Interfaith Alliance – Rabbi Jack Moline, President of Interfaith Alliance:
Our country has always welcomed those fleeing persecution and violence; it is, in fact, the story of how we came to be. We must stand up to those peddling xenophobia. We must choose wisdom over hateful rhetoric. Our elected leaders must live up to the mandate inherited from our ancestors, starting with President Washington who celebrated that our United States offered “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.

8.
  Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty – Amanda Tyler, Executive Director:
Any attempt to ban Muslim refugees based on their religion betrays our values and sends the un-American message that there are second-class faiths. Our country, founded by immigrants who established religious freedom as a bedrock principle, is better than this. A threat to anyone’s religious liberty is a threat to everyone’s religious liberty, and we as Baptists stand with those facing religious persecution around the world, regardless of their faith.

9.
  Alliance of Baptists – Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey, Director of Partnership Relations:
The plight of the displaced is well-documented with the influx of refugees evident along borders, or in small, vulnerable boats dangerously crossing the Mediterranean Sea, or in the overflowing camps in host countries providing emergency relief. More than fifty percent of the refugees are children, many of them orphaned and/or dealing with the loss of family members through the nightmares of trauma and violence they’ve experienced. The Alliance of Baptists joins the international call for justice and mercy for such vulnerable people. Our faithful actions of advocacy for the rights of refugees is rooted in our concern for all human beings and the protection of the resident alien in biblical justice and Jesus’ call of righteous acts of compassion to those in need.

10.
  Episcopal Church – Presiding Bishop Michael Curry:
The National Cathedral (an Episcopal Church) recently hosted President Trump, and implored him to keep the refugee program intact.  Refugee resettlement is a form of ministry, and one that we, and many other churches and faith-based organizations, cherish. The work of Episcopal Migration Ministries is God’s work, and we show the face of God through the care and compassion in that work. I ask President Trump to continue the powerful work of our refugee resettlement program without interruption, recognizing the long wait and screening process that means refugees wait months and sometimes years to enter the country. We ask that we continue to accept as many refugees as we have in the past, recognizing the need is greater than ever. We ask that refugees from all countries receive consideration to come to the U.S. and not to ban those who come from countries most in need of our assistance. Our Book of Common Prayer asks for God to “look with compassion on the whole human family;” to “break down the walls that separate us and unite us in bonds of love.” On Saturday, we prayed for God our Father to look with compassion upon the widowed and orphans, outcasts and refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger. We pray to love one another as God loves us. I echo that prayer now and ask that we may work together to build a more grace and compassion-filled world.

11.
  Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop:
Temporarily banning vulnerable refugees does not guarantee our security nor reflect our values as Christians. Refugees being resettled in the United States have fled persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political views or association with a particular group. They have waited well over a year to successfully complete security screenings by multiple intelligence agencies while living in a completely foreign culture, many times, still facing danger. As Lutherans, many of our ancestors faced the pain of having to flee our homes and the joy of being welcomed in new communities across the United States. As we have done throughout history, I urge our elected officials to honor our biblical witness as well as the best of our nation’s traditions of refuge and stand firmly against any policies that result in scaling back the refugee resettlement program.

12.
  National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA – Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary:
By effectively preventing the entrance of refugees into this country, President Trump is establishing a policy would have kept Joseph, Mary, and Jesus from entering our nation. We ask President Trump to repent and show kindness to the stranger and the refugee that is central to Christian and American values.

13.
  New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good – Rev. Dr. Richard Cizik, President:
Let me clearly state what should be obvious: American political history, the moral principles of Christian faith, and the enormous contributions made by immigrants to America combine to make refugee admissionseven from war-torn Syriaa good and compassionate thing to do. However, to expand the boundaries of our inclusion will require a greater degree of political vision, compassion, and bold determination. We who are the “new evangelicals” will oppose violations of these principles by President Trump with equal determination.

14.
  General Assembly of Presbyterian Church (USA) – Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, the Stated Clerk:
Presbyterians, professing a faith in Jesus who entered this world a refugee, have supported refugee resettlement since World War II. Many of our congregations are led by and comprised of former refugees and many more have been transformed by the new friends they have encountered when assisting in resettlement. We are in the midst of a worldwide refugee crisis. Repressing mercy and compassion, in times like these, with groundless limits placed on the faith and nationality of those we should welcome, will not make our nation safer. It will only serve to harm hundreds of thousands of people who are waiting desperately for a safe home and will drive rifts between us and our global neighbors. Our nation is better than this and our congregations stand ready to welcome refugees of all faiths and nations.

15.
  Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism – Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director:
The expected executive order defies the best American tradition of being a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution. As Jews, we recognize the danger in any action that singles out people based on their religious beliefs. If the order is issued as anticipated, it is deeply troubling, rooted in exclusion and discrimination, and echoes the most shameful parts of our history. Facing the largest refugee crisis in recent history, the United States must remain a beacon of safe haven and welcome. Jewish tradition teaches “and each shall sit under their vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid” (Micah 4:4). Ensuring our security and fulfilling our highest aspirations as a nation rooted in compassion and committed to religious freedom are not mutually exclusive. Policies such as those promulgated by President Trump in this expected executive order unjustly and falsely create the impression that all Muslims pose a security threat. Attacks on one faith are attacks on all faiths, and we stand with our Muslim friends and allies in rejecting such egregious suggestions.We call on President Trump to refrain from issuing this executive order, on Congress to ensure robust refugee resettlement, and call on all Americans to protect the fundamental principle of religious freedom upon which our country was founded.

16.
  Sojourners (Christian social justice advocacy organization) – Jim Wallis, President and Founder:
U.S. citizens, immigrants and refugees who practice their Islamic faith in this countryour friends and neighborsare our brothers and sisters as fellow human beings and children of God. We will never accept a religious test for entry into the United States. As Jesus taught us in Matthew 25, our Christian faith should compel us to actto advocate for welcoming refugees of all faiths into our country instead of turning them away. Religious tests, in addition to being morally repugnant, would threaten our nation’s democratic principles and the constitutional rights of every American. The violation of the religious freedom of our Muslim brothers and sisters must be not be accepted by any people of faith.

17.
  T’ruah (The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights) – Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director:
The Torah teaches thirty-six times that the Jewish experience of being strangers in Egypt and fleeing to freedom compels us to care for the stranger in our own midst. The Jewish community knows too well the dangers facing refugees fleeing war and violence, as too many of our own families died because the US borders were virtually closed to Jewish refugees during the Nazi regime. T’ruah joins with the more than 1500 rabbis who have signed the HIAS rabbinic letter welcoming refugees in calling on our elected officials to keep America’s doors open and to maintain our historic and moral commitment to serving as a lifeline to those fleeing persecution and violence.

18.
  National Council of Jewish Women – Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO:
NCJW opposes any actions to reduce refugee resettlement, including measures that would discriminate based on religion or nation of origin. As Jews we are taught va’ahavtem et ha-geras we were once strangers, so must we love the stranger. We must rise above prejudice and fear to open our communities to the individuals and families who seek sanctuary in the United States.
 
19.  Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) – Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President:
We are guided by our faith in the commandments to love God and love our neighbors, whoever they may be. We cannot separate the two, and seek to be welcoming of all people because loving God means loving our fellow human being. We pray that our country reflects principles of both welcome and of religious freedom, and that we remember the value of diversity. As refugees flee conflict, may we seek to offer them compassion, and not turn them away for any reason, including their religious identity.
20. Universalist Unitarian Association
At this extraordinary time in our nation’s history, we are called to affirm our profound commitment to the fundamental principles of justice, equity and compassion, to truth and core values of American society.
In the face of looming threats to immigrants, Muslims, people of color, and the LGBTQ community and the rise of hate speech, harassment and hate crimes, we affirm our belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
In opposition to any steps to undermine the right of every citizen to vote or to turn back advances in access to health care and reproductive rights, we affirm our commitment to justice and compassion in human relations.
And against actions to weaken or eliminate initiatives to address the threat of climate change – actions that would threaten not only our country but the entire planet – we affirm our unyielding commitment to protect the interdependent web of all existence.
We will oppose any and all unjust government actions to deport, register, discriminate, or despoil.
As people of conscience, we declare our commitment to translate our values into action as we stand on the side of love with the most vulnerable among us.
We welcome and invite all to join in this commitment for justice.  
The time is now.

 

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