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CAIR: Broad-Based Coalition Sends Letter to Maryland Governor in Support of Syrian Refugees

CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/24/15) – A coalition of 38 civil rights, faith, labor, humanitarian, social justice, and immigrant and refugee service provider organizations today joined the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the ACLU-MD in sending a letter to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in support of welcoming Syrian refugees and in strong opposition to the Governor's current position that the federal government not send Syrian refugees to Maryland.

SEE: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Rejects Pressure to Welcome Syrian Refugees 

The letter appeals to the Governor to not ignore Maryland's long-standing tradition of welcoming refugees to that state, and reads in part:

“The world is witnessing the largest refugee crisis since World War II. More than 4 million Syrians have fled from their home country to escape conflict and violence, and 6.5 million are internally displaced. Maryland has a long and proud tradition of welcoming with open arms those who flee persecution and death. We urge you to reconsider your statement asking that Syrian refugees not to be directed to our state, and to stand with your constituents in upholding that proud tradition.

At a time when the world needs humanitarian leadership, calls for restricting the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Maryland only serve to stoke fear and hate and to jeopardize our moral leadership. Syrian refugees are fleeing exactly the kind of terror that unfolded on the streets of Paris. They have suffered violence just like this for almost five years. Many if not most have lost loved ones to persecution, violence, and starvation, in addition to having had their country, their community, and everything they own brutally taken away from them.”

CAIR has issued a separate call to Governor Hogan asking him to reconsider his policy on Syrian refugee resettlement in Maryland.

SEE: CAIR Asks Md. Governor to Reconsider Position on Syrian Refugee Resettlement

SEE: More than half the nation's governors say Syrian refugees not welcome

“We have a moral obligation to recall our shared humanity as the refugee settlement debate rages on,†said Zainab Chaudry. “Our country is a country of immigrants who enrich and strengthen it. As the world witnesses a humanitarian crisis of unparalleled proportions in recent years, we cannot allow the politics of xenophobia and bigotry to persuade us to turn our backs on these refugees who need our help the most.â€

“It is vital that Governor Larry Hogan understand that there is strong and growing support for welcoming Syrian refugees to Maryland,†said Sirine Shebaya, staff attorney directing ACLU of Maryland’s immigrant’s rights advocacy. “Singling out refugees makes no sense, since they are the most extensively vetted group of immigrants ever to enter the United States. We call on Governor Hogan to reject discriminatory, fear-mongering calls to ban Syrian refugees from our country and instead welcome them to our state.”

List of organizations: 

  • American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland
  • Asylee Women Enterprise
  • Ayuda
  • Baltimore Palestine Solidarity
  • Bill of Rights Defense Committee
  • Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition
  • Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
  • CASA de Maryland
  • Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations 
  • Defending Dissent
  • Episcopal Refugee and Immigrant Center Alliance
  • Identity
  • Immigration Clinic, University of Maryland Carey School of Law
  • Immigration Outreach Service Center
  • Intercultural Counseling Connection
  • Interfaith Action for Human Rights
  • International Rescue Committee in Maryland
  • Jewish Voice for Peace
  • Jews United for Peace
  • League of Women Voters of Maryland
  • Libertarian Party of Maryland
  • Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
  • Maryland Immigrant Rights Coalition
  • Maryland Legislative Task Force for Islamic Affairs
  • Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition
  • Montgomery County Young Democrats
  • Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County
  • NAACP – Maryland State Conference
  • Open Society Institute – Baltimore
  • Peace Action Montgomery
  • Progressive Cheverly
  • Public Justice Center
  • Service Employees International Union 32BJ
  • Soccer Without Borders – Baltimore
  • Syrian American Council – Maryland chapter
  • Tahirih Justice Center – Baltimore
  • United Church of Christ Central Atlantic Conference

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CONTACT: CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Zainab Chaudry,, 410-971-6062

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