Two Syrian refugee families participated in a welcoming ceremony at the Islamic Center of Claremont, California on Wednesday leading up to the families’ first Thanksgiving in the United States.
The Kaajoo and Wawieh families said that they would spend their first Thanksgiving holiday with “other families،” according to an ABC report.
Sam Badwan of the Islamic Center said, “This is really something that we cherish a lot as part of this community to have the support and level of encouragement from the interfaith gatherings.”
The Wawiehs spoke with ABC 7 upon their arrival from Egypt last October. While scores of migrants travel from the Middle East flooding into Europe, Fouad Wawieh, his wife and six children went to Lebanon after leaving Syria. Egypt was the family’s next stop after that. The Islamic Center of Claremont has been guiding the family as they settle in America. The Center holds events and services for daily Muslim prayers, weekly lectures, Ramadan iftars and runs a full time school.
Mahmoud Tarifi said at Wednesday’s service, “In Egypt they were selected…to start the process as a refugee coming to the United States.”
U.S. Rep. Norma Torres (D) spoke at the service as well. She reportedly observed: “They have to prove that they have no associations with violent groups. They have to prove they are leaving an area where they have been targets.”
According to the Islamic Center of Claremont’s Facebook page, the community is outspoken in its identification with the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel. One photo shows a local bazaar selling Palestinian flags and maps on which Israel has been erase. Another shows a t-shirt with the slogan: “Gaza: Your victory is our celebration,” and a hand flashing the “victory” sign, in which the two outstretched fingers are shaped like rockets. Terrorist groups in Gaza fire rockets at Israeli civilians.
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