Faith-based coalition marches to protect rights of refugees

Faith-based coalition marches to protect rights of refugees
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Who cares about a bunch of refugees? A lot of people, maybe more than you expected.

Recently, several Muslim, Christian, and community groups came together to form a faith-based group called “Neighbors Building Bridges.” Its goal is to protect the human rights and freedoms of refugees who have come to the United States seeking safety from war, deportation and bigotry.

They hit the scene with a bang earlier this month with a march that started at St. Gabriel Parish and moved to the American Muslim Society, both in Southwest Detroit, and continued on to the UAW 600 Hall in Dearborn. About 200 people attended the march.

“The Neighbors Building Bridges march was a beautiful display of Muslim and Christians coming together in a clear display of our unity and our shared values, not only as Muslims and Christians, but also as Americans,” says Khalid M. Turaani, president, American Muslim Leadership Council.

The coalition believes a grassroots movement of like-minded people is the best way to combat President Trump’s travel ban and the potential raids and deportation of refugees already here. They believe the ban is counter to the values of America and plans to hold leaders accountable for the safety, rights and dignity of every American and refugee and immigrant.

The group wants to make sure these marginalized groups experience the same American freedom and value system the rest of us enjoy as well as the same protection, dignity and rights.

The march is just the beginning for Neighbors Building Bridges. In the future there will be open houses at mosques and churches and workshops aimed at providing social and economic support for low-income families and neighborhoods and combating hate and discrimination through advocacy and action.

“The peaceful march included religious and civil leaders and an opportunity for both groups to pray together and learn how they could work together to end discrimination and keep families united in our communities,” says Rev.Marc Gawronski, pastor at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church.

“The peaceful march was the just the beginning of a cooperative faith-based relationship between Muslims and Christians in Southwest Detroit,” he says. “We look forward to continuing to cooperate and to know each other better.”

Photos courtesy Chloe Michael

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