WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Syrian American Council yesterday hosted two press conferences in Phoenix, Arizona, and Annapolis, Maryland inviting Governor Doug Ducey and Governor Larry Hogan to meet directly with Syrian refugee families which have resettled to their states as part of an ongoing campaign throughout the nation. The campaign aims to invite governors from the states who have stated that Syrian refugees are unwelcome to hear directly from the refugees themselves and reconsider their position.
The press conferences included a broad coalition of supporting organizations including the National Association of Evangelicals, the American Civil Liberties Union, HIAS, Lutheran Immigration and Relief Services, the Islamic Society of North America, the Presbyterian and Episcopal Churches, Students Organize for Syria and many others.
Interfaith leaders including bishops, rabbis, and imams attended the events.
The Syrian refugee families expressed the peaceful nature of the Syrian people and their thankfulness to their states for letting them in. They expressed their hopefulness as new Americans and explained that fears regarding refugees are rooted in misinformation and that the Syrian people understand concerns about ISIL and other terror groups because they directly oppress and threaten the Syrian people on a daily basis.
"The Syrian people understand dealing with refugees because we took in refugees from Palestine, Iraq, Armenia, and many other countries throughout the centuries." said Fadi Antar who arrived in Maryland only four days ago.
[VIDEO: Shlomo Bolts of Syrian American Council, calls for Maryland to let in refugees and for a no-fly zone in Syria. Credits to the Baltimore Sun.]
We hope that Governor Ducey and Hogan will meet with these families and are confident that if they do they will reconsider their position that Syrian refugees are unwelcome in Arizona and Maryland. We also call on President Obama and the international community to establish a safe zone in Syria to protect civilians from the Assad regime and ISIS. A safe zone would allow refugees to return home, or to stay home in the first place where they would rather be.