Groups Launch “Chicago Welcomes Refugees” Campaign
(CHICAGO, IL., 9/17/15) – On Thursday, September 17, representatives of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) will be joined by leaders of other Muslim organizations and of the Syrian-American community at a news conference in Chicago, Il., to call for immediate action by the federal and local governments to help end the suffering of the Syrian people. The message will be “Chicago Welcomes Refugees.”
The groups will be joined by Syrian Refugees to share their message.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the Syrian crisis is the worst crisis in this lifetime with over 4 million displaced persons have registered with the UNHCR, over 3 million unregistered refugees, and close to 2 million internally displaced persons. Refugees from Syria have fueled Europe’s refugee crisis. More than half of the nearly 400,000 who have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year are Syrian, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.
CAIR-Chicago, along with local partners, is demanding swift and decisive action be taken by the United States, who have taken a surprisingly small quota till now, to share the responsibility of refugee resettlement and to confront the ultimate causes of the crisis in Syria.
WHAT: CAIR-Chicago, Syrian-American and Muslim Groups to Call for Immediate Action on Syria Crisis
WHEN: Thursday, September 17, 10 a.m. (CST)
WHERE: Azima Center @ CAIR-Chicago, 17 N. State Street, Suite 1500, Chicago, Illinois, 60602
WHO: CAIR-Chicago, Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), Syrian Community Network (SNC), Syrian Forum USA, Syrian American Council (SAC), CIOGC, RefugeeONE, Syrian Christians for Peace, and Syrian refugees living in Chicago.
The US has a long tradition of accepting refugees. Every year about 70,000 refugees are resettled. But the 1,500 Syrians granted refugee status so far are just a small fraction of the millions of Syrian refugees and of the 18,000 or so Syrian cases that the UNHCR has submitted to the US government.
Sweden alone has admitted 30,000 and Germany has pledged to take in 800,000 refugees, and Iceland will accept 10,000. Every day between 1,500-3,000 refugees arrive in Europe. The announcement from the Obama administration that the United States will start the vetting process in October to accept only 10,000 refugees.
One of the key recommendations for action will be the establishment of a no-fly zone to protect Syrian civilians from aerial attack. There is a desperate need to stop the dropping of barrel bombs and establish humanitarian or safe zones.
Illinois & Chicago in particular have a strong history of accepting refugees. Chicago is home to four refugee resettlement agencies and is one of the few cities to have already taken Syrian refugees. Over 2,000 refugees resettled in Illinois annually and with an established Syrian American community as well as strong Arab and Muslim communities, the state/city is a prime candidate to take leadership on this crisis.
“The US is a world leader, and Chicago is a world class city; time to live up to our potential as the world struggles with one of today’s greatest humanitarian crisis” said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab.
Rehab said participants in the Thursday news conference will outline actions that should be immediately taken to help alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people and to bring that destabilizing conflict to an end.