Places of worship seek to protect people from ‘terror’ raids launched by Trump

Protesters with sign saying "Refugees welcome. Stop the war on immigrants."
Ed Sykes

Places of worship across the US are standing up to Donald Trump. In recent days, many have given sanctuary to people at risk from Trump’s latest anti-immigration raids. These are targeting roughly 2,000 people without official documentation. Numerous religious figures have criticised Trump for ‘terrorising’ these people.

Synagogues oppose “cruel, immoral, and inhumane” raids

On 14 July, New York’s Jewish community united to defend families facing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids due to start that day. According to Haaretz, “T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights joined the New Sanctuary Coalition, a network of houses of worship around the New York area that are offering a haven to undocumented immigrants during the raids”. T’ruah, “which includes more than 2,000 rabbis and cantors”, helped to bring around 70 synagogues together across the US to provide refuge for people at risk. And it slammed the raids as “cruel, immoral, and inhumane”.

T’ruah also insisted:

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The United States should be a welcoming country for those escaping dangerous situations in other countries or who have spent years here building new lives. The raids serve no purpose other than to jail more immigrants and rile up President Donald Trump’s base.

And it stressed that:

The Trump administration is acting like the leaders of the biblical Sodom, whose primary sin, according to rabbinic literature, was their abuse of foreigners and their xenophobia.

Haaretz reported that 11 other synagogues around New York feature “in an online map of churches, mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship that offer a safe space for immigrants who need it”.

Jewish activist Sophie Ellman-Golan, meanwhile, criticised ICE’s “reign of terror”. And she told Haaretz that its raids were an “intentional effort by the federal government to terrorize immigrant communities”.

Churches also slam efforts to “terrorize communities”

At least 25 churches in Houston also joined efforts to protect families seeking sanctuary, along with another dozen around Los Angeles. In LA, Rev Fred Morris of North Hills United Methodist Hispanic Mission said:

Everybody is nervous… They are angry, very angry at being terrorized by our president.

Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich, meanwhile, told priests that:

Threats of broad enforcement actions by ICE are meant to terrorize communities.

And he encouraged them “not to let any immigration officials into churches without identification or a warrant”.

While many churches sought to defend people at risk, however, one megachurch in Texas went in a different direction. The ‘mission team’ at Prestonwood Baptist Church, for example, decided to minister to Border Patrol agents instead. According to Yahoo News, “Prestonwood’s senior leaders have often been vocal defendants of President Donald Trump and his administration’s immigration policies”.

Places of worship in the US have the special status of ‘sanctuary’. And authorities have long considered them to be off limits. But technically, there’s no law against them entering these buildings.

The complex US relationship with immigration

The US was once a country apparently proud to say:

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

Indeed, people from foreign lands moving to the US made it what it is today.

Undocumented immigration today, meanwhile, isn’t about disrespect for the law. It’s mostly about demand. As CNBC previously explained:

the government provides only about one third as many visas as needed by U.S. businesses, primarily in agriculture and construction, even as these businesses are unable to find Americans to fill these jobs.

It also stressed that:

about half of the farm workers in California are undocumented… they are an essential component of the agricultural business model in the U.S.

Launching mass raids, then, is unlikely to end such immigration. Only issuing an appropriate number of accessible visas to fill all job vacancies would help.

The US could also make a massive impact, of course, by ending its longstanding policy of disastrous interventions both in Latin America and throughout the world. Because many (if not the vast majority) of the people currently seeking asylum in the US come from countries which Washington has smashed into submission.

If the US government had an ounce of integrity or self-respect, then, it wouldn’t be terrorising immigrant communities; it would be welcoming them with open arms.

Featured image via YouTube – ABC News

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    1. God has created diverse human beings to live in this tiny global villages of one family. Creation by its very nature is diverse with different species, different communities, different cultures and languages. These differences represent the beauty and wonder but diversity is sometimes not fully appreciated, resulting in all sorts of clashes. The British society and Establishment must learn to respect and accommodate others, as if in a family.

      A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit. He/she is supposed to be well versed in standard English, Arabic, Urdu and other community languages, to be part of the British society, as well as proud of his.her cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of his/her literature and poetry.

      Muslims are peaceful by nature. they ruled Spain for roughly 800 years. During that time, non Muslims were flourishing and held high positions. The minority of non Muslims in the middle east enjoy stability and prosperity.. The prophet Mohammed says( whoever kills any non Muslims , he will be my persecutor in the day of judgement) our prophet had a Jewish neighbour . one day he became ill , the prophet himself visited him to ask about his health. I hope i could give you some information about tolerance in Islam..

      What do you expect from the so called civilised Trump? He has been terrorising the whole Muslim world. He is responsible for the destruction of Iraq, Syria and Libya and now threatening Iran.

      The number of Muslims is on the increase because of never ending immigration, high birth rate and conversion. Do not trust Trump to defend Muslims? They have to learn to defend themselves by whatever means you have.

      Islam will grow despite of strong opposition to Muslims in the west. Islam is not any new religion, Islam means to submit your will to one and true Lord, who is the Lord of the Thrones. Who sent Adam,Abraham,Ishmael,Isaac,Joanna,Lot,Joseph,Moses,Jesus and Muhammad( Peace and blessings of God be on them all),The Quran Honours Mary as the women chosen above women of all the nations and their is a chapter dedicated to her in Quran called chapter 19, Mary and Jesus(Peace be on him) was the mightiest messengers of God, he was born miraculously without any male intervention, he healed all the blind and sick by God’s Permission. And no Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus Christ as the messenger of God, and Jesus is coming back to this world, and this is our emaan our faith.Jesus says in the Bible that” on that day many will come to me and say, “Lord have we not done mighty works in thy name, in thy name cast out devils. Jesus says” You evil people depart from me, I never knew you”.

      American Muslim community needs Masajid, state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers, halal meat, sharia laws, time off for Friday afternoon prayers, two official religious holidays per year and Muslim cemeteries.
      IA
      http;//www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

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