The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), a coalition of over 60 Islamic institutions across Chicagoland, held a press conference on January 27 to address the deeply troubling executive orders set by the Trump administration to ban refugees from the United States.
President Trump’s executive orders, which he began signing on January 25, would temporarily ban most refugees and suspend visas for Syrian citizens, including refugees from Muslim-majority countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Iran. According to Trump, the ban would remain for several months until more ‘extreme vetting’ is in place. Trump has made an exception to religious minorities escaping persecution.
“The Trump administration’s decision to ban refugees contradicts the values we hold dear as Americans. The U.S. is and always has been a land of immigrants and refugees. The founding fathers of our nation escaped persecution and became the first refugees in America. To implement this ban would contradict the values of we hold dear as Americans,” said Dr. Bassam Osman, Chair of CIOGC.
With the humanitarian disaster in Syria worsening, thousands of displaced Syrians continue to flee their civil-war torn country. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016, the U.S. accepted over 13,000 Syrian refugees. However, the Trump administration is poised to close the door during a time of great humanitarian need.
CIOGC was joined by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), Syrian Community Network, CAIR-Chicago, Jewish Voice for Peace – Chicago, Chicago Sinai Congregation, and the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago (CRLMC).