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Wed May 25, 2016, 08:09 AM


Interfaith panel discusses responding to refugee crisis

by Elizabeth A. Elliott | May. 24, 2016

KANSAS CITY, MO. Leaders of Catholic, Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith communities came together Thursday as part of the Kansas City Library's 2016 Immigrant Heritage Series to discuss faith responses to the refugee crisis. Presented by the American Friends Service Committee and the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, the topic was "Confronting Extremist Violence, the Refugee Crisis, and Fear: Faith Responses."

The panelists discussed this issue just a month after Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced that Kansas will withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program. The Kansas City, Kan., archdiocese released a statement saying it is reviewing the impact of the state's federal withdrawal on its own work.

"It is the government who decides who qualifies as a refugee. The Church's mission is to serve the refugees that are directed to us and to stand with those refugees throughout the resettlement process," said the statement. "In accordance with our belief in the dignity of every human person, the Church will continue to fulfill its Gospel mandate to serve those who are in need."

Brian Steed, a Middle East specialist at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., opened the evening. He said of the Islamic State group that "much of the mystique is that they are everywhere and that no one is safe. It is in this competition of narrative we need to engage with our ideas for narratives. ... Ideas and narratives that will inspire peoples and nations to do the difficult things we are asking them to do."


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