LIVING AS A REFUGEE IN AMERICA: AN INTERVIEW WITH IMAM ZIA (5/6)

“A few things I would like people in the host countries to know is that refugees are refugees because they are literally seeking refuge and shelter. No one is doing this because crossing borders and oceans and risking your life it’s an enjoyable experience. I think many refugees, myself included, empathize with everyone who is seeking opportunity and coming to America. Whether it’s people from South America, Syria or elsewhere one thing that makes refugees stand out is that they don’t have a choice. Running is the only choice they have. As opposed to an economic migrant who wants to improve his/her life but their life is not under threat. Even though their conditions are also tough no one’s going to kill them but with refugees, it’s literally a life and death situation. So, that’s the one thing that I would like people in the host countries to realize. The second thing is for them to look at the example of the previous generation of refugees that have come and have settled in Europe or America. For the most part, refugees have become an asset to their community and host countries. America is what is is mostly because it has embraced people, refugees and immigrants who have made America great. Refugees and immigrants are not a burden to anyone. We should embrace and accept them just as human beings in need. We are fortunate to have so many resources and opportunities so helping refugees can be a big way of giving gratitude. But if that’s not really something we can do then, at least, we can look at the benefits that they can bring. The fact that they are not burdens and don’t become a burden on the society here and that they actually give more than they take. Refugees and immigrants pay taxes and they are your doctors and engineers and cab drivers and community leaders that do so much good work.” 12938228_1729316927324455_6349550793945542431_n

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