"Wasif Qureshi and Lori Fernald Khamala: One year later, Greensboro communities still say no to Muslim ban" - Islamic Relief USA

The following is an excerpt from an article posted in the in Feb 2017:”Wasif Qureshi and Lori Fernald Khamala: One year later, Greensboro communities still say no to Muslim ban”

“Jan. 27 marked the first anniversary of President Trump signing the “Muslim Ban.” Last year, thousands poured into the streets in protest, shutting down highways and airports. In Greensboro, hundreds flooded PTI Airport to say that refugees are welcome here.

In the months that followed, the ban met with a series of legal injunctions and subsequent revisions. Last month, the Supreme Court lifted the injunctions and the ban went into effect — at least temporarily. Immigrants and visitors from Iran, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia and other countries are now prohibited from entering the U.S. while the legal process unfolds.

In Greensboro, we can already see the negative effects of the ban, and of growing Islamophobia and lack of support for migrants and refugees. But we also see the courage and determination of refugees and immigrants, people of faith and our communities at large to make Greensboro, and this country, a place that comes together to protect and build all of our communities.

Wasif’s story

I work for Islamic Relief USA, as a manager of our Refugee Assistance Program in North Carolina. Over the last year, we have worked with 50 families, and collaborated with other national refugee-assistance organizations to help them with their own refugee-support efforts.

North Carolina ranks eighth in the nation for refugee resettlement. More than 3,000 people resettled here in 2016, but in 2017 the state was only able to offer refuge to 1,200, in part due to the travel ban. More than 75 percent of the people I worked with were from Syria — now many of them will not be able to reunite with family as long as the ban remains in effect. And the implications of such a ban create challenges for new arrivals who want to find meaningful resettlement in the U.S.

“Am I welcome here?” is a question I hear more and more.

Behind these policies, statistics and Supreme Court decisions are real human beings, many of whom have endured the immense hardships of war and displacement.

Take the story of Mansour, a Syrian refugee now resettled in North Carolina. Mansour is paralyzed from the waist down, due to severe torture he suffered in his homeland. He moved to this country, convinced the U.S. would be able to help him walk again.

Now in the U.S., Mansour is taking 23 credits of English courses. He also found part-time employment, which was fortunate, because his mother’s Medicaid coverage ended, and a diabetic episode led to a costly visit to the emergency room. Always hopeful and smiling, Mansour strives on, for he sees a light and a future in our country and our people.

In spite of the challenges they face, the refugees I’ve worked with have taught me so much about hope and resilience. North Carolina will only be stronger for their presence, and we are calling on the government and the community to support these efforts. ”


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