President Donald J. Trump has accidentally done something unexpected. Actually, after his election — and due to his hard-line stance on immigration — the number of “sanctuary” congregations using churches to help shield undocumented immigrants from deportation has doubled.
A Cincinnati area mosque announced, on the eve of the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, it would join church sanctuary movement in the U.S., possibly becoming the first Islamic house of worship to do so. The largely Christian movement ― led by the Church World Service, the PICO National Network, United We Dream, the Advancement Project and Groundswell ― also announced plans to work more closely with the Islamic community in response to Trump’s call to restrict Muslims from traveling to the United States. The sanctuary movement is a promise by churches, synagogues and now, mosques, to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation and other government actions, even to the point of violating the law.
Christian churches have historically led the sanctuary movement, but Dallas-based Imam Omar Suleiman, the president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and a professor of Islamic studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said a group of mosques would join the effort in coming days. He is also helping to organize a national call to Muslim leaders to join the sanctuary movement and creating a webinar that will provide them with resources to establish themselves as a sanctuary.
The Sanctuary Movement was a religious and political campaign in the United States that began in the early 1980s to provide safe-haven for Central American refugees fleeing civil conflict. It responded to federal immigration policies that made obtaining asylum difficult for Central Americans because Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a general policy of not carrying out operations in sensitive areas, including places of worship. Today, in the 2017, we are witnessing similar unification.
The religious leaders said they expected their numbers to continue to grow in the coming months, as their members look for ways to oppose Trump’s efforts to enforce a hard line on immigration.
Photo Credits: Catholic Lane