A Cincinnati area mosque announced it would join the burgeoning church sanctuary movement in the U.S., possibly becoming the first Islamic house of worship to do so. The announcement came on the eve of the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, who took a hard-line stance on immigration and proposed a national Muslim registry during his campaign. “It took us no time to decide that this was the ethical and moral thing to do,” said Imam Ismaeel Chartier, leader of the Clifton Mosque, which attracts upwards of 800 people to Friday prayers at its location near the Cincinnati Zoo. “We want to help reclaim humanity for everyone.”
More than 800 U.S. congregations have joined the sanctuary movement — 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. Rev. Noel Anderson of the Church World Service, which organizes the sanctuary movement, said the Clifton mosque is likely the first mosque to actually open its doors to undocumented immigrants, but that other mosques have supported the movement in other ways. Dallas-based Imam Omar Suleiman, an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University, said Islamic history and scripture supports the participation of Muslims in the sanctuary movement. Suleiman is helping to organize a national call to Muslim leaders and mosques to join the sanctuary movement. He is also helping to create a webinar that will provide them with resources to establish themselves as a sanctuary. In Cincinnati, the Clifton Mosque will join Christ Church Cathedral, an Episcopal community in downtown Cincinnati, in shielding and supporting any immigrants who seek help from and pass a screening by a local branch of Interfaith Worker Justice.
Source: Religion News Service (RNS)