B.C. Dodge talks to two of IRUSA’s special guests about Syria on this episode of “What a Relief!” — IRUSA’s official podcast.

On this episode of IRUSA’s “What a Relief!” podcast, you get a two-for-one deal—two impassioned speakers sharing insight into the Syrian crisis.

We caught Mohamed Khairullah, mayor of Prospect Park, N.J., and spoken-word artist Omar Offendum before they headed into a fundraising dinner to speak to a crowd in Virginia.

Mohamed travels to Syria for relief work.

“When I’m in Syria, I’m constantly on heightened alert,” he says. “You have to watch the sky, you have to watch where you’re crossing, you have to watch everything. You have to watch what you say, how you say it. …

“I don’t think anybody really appreciates … the conditions that the people in Syria live under.”

It’s not just war that they have to fear—for people stripped of everything once had, even the weather is a real threat. Last time he visited was December 2015, and it was very cold. He traveled there wearing all the warm layers that the average American can afford, but his mind was with people sleeping nearby in the cold.

On a previous trip, Mohamed met children who started a fire in a park during the day. They told him they don’t go home at night, because the houses are concrete, making the cold even worse.

“It’s warmer for them to stay outside than to sleep in their own homes,” he says.

Both speakers grapple with the magnitude of the crisis. Mohamed points out that 66% of Syria’s population are now refugees, or displaced inside their country, or have been killed or injured.

B.C. asks, “How do you even begin to educate the average person about how large of a percentage that number really is?”

Omar Offendum, whose background is Syrian, says, “People are losing sight of how to even understand something like this.”

He said that’s why he travels to events like the one in Virginia, to “rippity-rap” about the situation and the need for help. He said he loves that the events are a mixture of information, spirituality and art—and that they’re also a time to reflect on our privilege here in the United States.

“We’re not getting bombed on the daily,” he says, “and we have this unique opportunity to give back.”

Listen and find out what Mohamed and Omar want us to do here at home.

Hear what Omar says means the world to refugees.

And hear some of his lines, from his heart, on Syria.

“What a Relief!” is the official podcast of Islamic Relief USA. Co-hosted by social media specialist B.C. Dodge, and Mordant Mahon, IRUSA’s “What a Relief!” puts a human face on what’s going on in the world and how you can enact positive change in it. New episodes every week!

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