Dallas-area Imam Says Mosques Should Tackle Bigotry With Sanctuary for Immigrants

Mosques for the first time being being called upon to join a nationwide interfaith “sanctuary” movement for immigrants who may face deportation after Donald Trump becomes president, a prominent Dallas-area imam said Tuesday.“We really have to stand strong in the face of the bigoted forces that are targeted our communities,” said Imam Omar Suleiman, a bilingual professor of Islamic Students at Southern Methodist University, in a joint announcement with other religious leaders around the nation.Suleiman said mosques across the nation will be asked this week to join a movement that religious leaders say has doubled to more than 800 mostly Christian congregations since the presidential election of Donald Trump. Among the local Christian churches already vowing to participate are Christ’s Foundry United Methodist Church in Dallas, where about 8 out of 10 adult congregants are foreign-born. It's still unclear exactly how the coalition of congregations plans to shelter or otherwise assist unauthorized immigrants who face the immediate threat of deportation. But the growing number of mosques, churches and temples is working out details on who will give refuge and under what circumstances, the imam said.Committing to providing sanctuary is sure to alarm federal officials and the incoming administration. Trump campaigned hard against illegal and legal immigration and for increased surveillance of Muslim immigrants and an expanded wall at the U.S.-Mexican border. He has vowed to temporarily halt Muslim immigration altogether.Suleiman, the resident scholar at the Valley Ranch Islamic Center in Irving, said he hopes at least half of the 60 mosques in North Texas will agree to provide sanctuary for immigrants suddenly uprooted from their lives in the area. Suleiman said he couldn’t address yet whether the Valley Ranch mosque would be among them.  Continue reading...

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