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In the Triangle leaders of various faith communities are responding to the global refugee crisis and want to send a message that immigrants and refugees are welcome in the state.  On Monday evening in Durham various faith groups and immigrant advocates sponsored a prayer vigil and dinner at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church.

They said that in the face of some recent backlash against Syrian refugees, they want to send a very intentional message – that immigrants and refugees are welcome in North Carolina.  Jenifer Copeland of the North Carolina Council of Churches said “People of faith are welcoming refugees and immigrants to North Carolina. There has been, of course in the press, a great deal of anti-immigration and anti-refugee sentiment.”

Copeland made that declaration right on the heels of many heated debates regarding the issue. On Monday, presidential hopeful Donald Trump called for a temporary barring of Muslims from the United States and in November, Gov. Pat McCrory joined other governors to ask the federal government to stop sending Syrian refugees to North Carolina.

Copeland said “This is not a univocal sentiment of North Carolinians. There are many, many North Carolinians who are immigrants themselves, who are welcoming immigrants, who understand that not all Syrians are people who carry bombs.”

People who identified with Christian, Jewish, and Islamic faiths prayed and sang together under one roof at Monday’s vigil before sitting around the dinner table.  Those who organized the event said they would like to hear more focus on the contributions immigrants have made to communities in the Triangle.


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