Global Missiology English, Vol 4, No 14 (2017)

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MUSLIM REFUGEES IN THE UNITED STATES: HOW GOD VIEWS THEM AND DESIRES THE CHURCH TO FOLLOW IN OBEDIENCE

John Courtney Coyle

Abstract


In the recent US presidential election between Donald Trump and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the topic of refugees and immigrants who seek entry into the United States was highly debated. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “Refugees are people fleeing conflict or persecution. They are defined and protected in international law, and must not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom are at risk.”  As of late, the United States has experienced a surge of refugees from Muslim countries such as Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Afghanistan.  Historically, the American public has welcomed refugees, but terrorist attacks throughout Europe over the last two years, carried out by ISIS fighters from Syria, have drastically swayed the opinions of Americans about refugees, specifically of those who are Muslim. Nevertheless, the Obama Administration welcomed a record 38,901 Muslim refugees during the fiscal year of 2016.  One such example is the Al Haj Kasem family from Syria who has lived in Greensboro, North Carolina since arriving there in September 2012. Their journey from Syria to Jordan and then to the United States was filled with challenges and several interviews before they received approval by the US State Department to enter the United States as refugees.  They were welcomed and assisted by a caseworker from Church World Service, a resettlement agency that assists refugees adapt to life in the United States.  Today, their family is only a tiny represen- tation of the 4.8 million Syrians who have fled their country due to war. In the face of great hostility by a large percentage of the American public, how should American church leaders and lay people handle the issue of Muslim refugees in the United States? 

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