Diverse faith groups rally to help Afghan refugees

Thursday, September 2, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Diverse American faith groups, including Protestant and Catholic churches, Islamic organizations and Jewish agencies are helping Afghan refugees who were evacuated to the US after the Taliban took over Afghanistan last month, Just the News (JN) reports.

The various faith groups have been providing food, clothes, housing, and legal assistance, JN reports. "It's incredible. It's an interfaith effort that involved Catholic, Lutheran, Muslim, Jews, Episcopalians ... Hindus ... as well as nonfaith communities who just believe that maybe it's not a matter of faith, but it's just a matter of who we are as a nation," president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Krish O'Mara Vignarajah told the Associated Press (AP).

"It's a historic effort, and there are and have been challenges — especially after rebounding from four years of what was a war on immigration, which decimated the refugee resettlement infrastructure," O'Mara Vignarajah said."Some of our local offices might have resettled 100 families throughout the entirety of last year, and they may now be looking at 100 families in the next few weeks."

Over 120,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover on August 14. Some have already obtained special immigrant status for helping the US, while others are still waiting for their applications to be determined, JN reports. There are still thousands more who qualify but are stuck in Afghanistan.

"Some of the cases we are involved with have gotten out, but many have not," president and CEO of the Jewish refugee agency HIAS, Mark Hetfield told AP."We have a girl who was literally shot by the Taliban and is now severely disabled who can't get out. We are aware of many, many others who are trapped — and the U.S. has left them behind," Hetfield said.