Sudbury

Lifeline Sudbury calls Trump ban on refugees 'inhumane', 'evil'

Lifeline Sudbury is standing in solidarity with the Syrians it helps. The umbrella agency, which supports refugee sponsorship groups in Sudbury, Ont., issued a release this week in response to news in the United States of a temporary ban on refugees or immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries, including Syria. Lifeline Sudbury calls the ban discriminatory and prejudicial.

'We're throwing a lifeline for them and welcoming them here' says sponsorship group

Syrian refugees arrive at the Sudbury airport in January 2016. They have made the city their home over the past year. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)

Lifeline Sudbury is standing in solidarity with the Syrians it helps.

The umbrella agency, which supports refugee sponsorship groups in Sudbury, Ont., issued a release this week in response to news in the United States of a temporary ban on refugees or immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries, including Syria.

Lifeline Sudbury calls the ban discriminatory and prejudicial.

Coordinator Nilgiri Pearson, says they wanted to show refugees and newcomers that they are welcome in our community, and that the group appreciates the efforts Sudbury residents have shown in making these new families feel welcome.

Pearson also says Lifeline Sudbury does not feel the executive orders from US President Donald Trump represent the thoughts of the entire American people.

Insanity, inhumane and evil to deny sanctuary

"It's insanity. It's inhumane and its evil to deny these people sanctuary," says Pearson.

Pearson says the Syrian families who have settled in Sudbury over the past year don't seem to be shocked by the ban south of the border, since they had to deal with similar situations in their homeland.

Nilgiri Pearson is the co-ordinator of Lifeline Sudbury, a network that helps with the sponsorship process for groups bringing refugees to Sudbury. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

However Pearson says the Syrians in Sudbury were more shocked by the attack on a mosque in Quebec City, Que., which killed six people.

Most of the Syrian refugee families in Sudbury follow the Muslim faith. Yet, according to Pearson not one of them has told him they feel like they were discriminated against because of that faith.

"They've all mentioned how welcomed they have felt by the Muslims with whom they go to mosque; by the Christians in the churches that have organized their sponsorships; by people whose faith they have no knowledge of who they meet day to day and help them," says Pearson.

He says the Sudbury community has shown kindness and generosity to the Syrian refugees over the past year since they first arrived.

One of the newcomers, Hussein Qarqoz, even told Pearson that he wants to somehow return the support he's been shown.

"That represents the views of all the families that are here. They want to give back to this city. They want to stay in this city. That says something about the type of people that Syrians are. The type of people that we have welcomed here and the type of people Donald Trump has decided he doesn't want in his country."

You are welcome here

Chair of Lifeline Sudbury, David Courtemanche, says they want refugees and immigrants who've made this city their home to know they are welcome here.

"We want to make sure that they know in this community they're welcome, they're a part of our community and we're going to support them, no matter what is happening south of the border," says Courtemanche.

Courtemanche says many of the local sponsorship groups have expressed a desire to bring more refugees here in the future.

"Refugees land on the shores of North America. We've got a guy south of the border that is throwing stones. We're throwing a lifeline for them and welcoming them here."

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