Remarks by Dr. Umar M. Ahmad at Mid-Hudson Refugee Solidarity Alliance community meeting 11/6/16

Good Evening, As-Salam-O-Alaikum, Peace be upon you.

As I look around this room of people, what I see is the best example of kindness, generosity, and compassion, and the American spirit, that has brought people here for hundreds of years.

America is an amazing place; it is truly a melting pot. Yesterday I was visiting my daughter in Queens, NY and that is the most diverse place in the world, where people of all colors, races, and countries are living, working and are raising their children in peace and harmony
The statue of Liberty is standing with the inscription in her hand “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the go
The people who are coming in a few (weeks/months/?) are men, women and children who have left behind everything they’ve ever had. They’ve lost their homes; the warm comfort of their communities, friends and families. They are coming here full of anxieties, nervousness, and worries of the unknown. Although they may have heard of the generous spirit of an average American, they may also have heard that they are not welcomed in this country.
There may also be anxieties and nervousness in the local communities as well where they will be settling. However we need to remember that like many waves of people who came here before them, they will also become part of the fabric of this great country.

We go home to our families. We eat dinner together, spend time with our families and our friends, and enjoy the warmth of our homes and the comfort of our own beds. Our community is excited to be able to share all that with these families. We don’t know who they are, where they are coming from, the number of people in the family, or their ages. However the entire community is anxiously waiting to receive them and take them in their homes, introduce them to our larger community, show them our house of worship(s), be able to meet and talk to them.

We are fully prepared to assist them in settling in this beautiful Hudson Valley. We have set aside some funds for them, furniture, warm clothing, household items that will be needed for a household.
We will do all we can, to assist them, guide them, show them the city and help them settle in their new home.

The people in this room are the best example of the kindness and generosity Americans have extended to new comers for hundreds of years. Thank you for your kindness, your generosity, and your openness to other cultures and for reminding us all what makes the United States so great.

I would like to thank the Church World Council, the Vassar College and its team of volunteers, the DCIC the churches, the Jewish temples and all those people who have worked so hard to make it possible.

I’ll end with a quote from the author Khalil Gibran: “I love you my brother whoever you are – whether you worship in your church, kneel in your temple, or pray in your mosque. You and I are all children of one faith, for the diverse paths of religion are fingers of the loving hand of one Supreme Being, offering completeness of Spirit to all, and eager to receive all.”


Dr. Umar M. Ahmad

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