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It was a beautiful day to rally in support of the Syrian refugees on Saturday December 12th, 2015. There were signs that read “Refugees welcome!” “We’re not full!” And, “We stand with refugees!” We were even joined by a young Syrian woman who was a refugee herself.
Her sign read, “I am a Syrian refugee, not a threat.”
We demanded that our voices be heard. Pine Lake City Councilman George Chidi urged participants at the rally to demand their voices be heard by registering to vote.
“If you don’t want fear to win, you need to REGISTER AND VOTE. We cannot let these demagogues take power in this country.”
The message from the community was clear. We stood with the suffering Syrian people. We recognized them as our brothers, sisters, friends and neighbors. However, most importantly, we refused to let fear deter us from supporting the continuation of one of our nation’s most civil practices of accepting refugees.
As a Syrian American, it was incredibly touching for me to witness all of the support from the 125 participants at the rally on Saturday. For years, many Muslim Americans, including myself, were persecuted for our identities. We struggled for years because of terrorist attacks committed in the name of our religion. After September 11th, the media would insist on creating a culture of fear around our religion. As Muslims and human beings, we knew these terrorist attacks had nothing to do with our religion, but many people around us didn’t understand that. It was touching to be surrounded by so many people that resented this state of fear and its repercussions as much as I do. I hope that our supportive community will grow and our elected officials will be willing to have a real discussion about this. We have spoken. Keep our doors open!
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