Detained at JFK, Hospitality in a Time of Hate, Religious Worlds – February 2017 Newsletter

February 1st,2017 ICNY Latest News


Please note that ICNY’s Newsletter for February is available here.

Dear Friends,

Last Friday’s Executive Order introducing a temporary travel ban on people from 7 Muslim countries made an exception for an individual belonging to “a religious minority in [the] country of nationality facing religious persecution.” Christians fleeing persecution from Iraq and other conflict-ridden majority Muslim countries would receive entry. Muslims escaping those same places would not. The list of evangelical leaders who have spoken out against this is here. The former Acting Attorney General’s Letter refusing to enforce this order is here; and National Security expert Juliette Kayyem puts it succinctly in an interview with Slate “if we want to convince someone that there is a holy war, this is the way to do it. This idea, that Christians are more worthy than the vast majority of other victims who are Muslims, just deepens the problem.”

At JFK this weekend, our partner the New York Immigration Coalition described some 52 people (as of Sunday night at 7pm) who suffered under this order:

  • A 60-year-old father and 30-year-old brother of a United States Citizen cancer researcher (30 hours)
  • A 65-year-old Sudanese woman with diabetes and a Green Card holder
  • A father and son from Iran (33 hours)
  • A group of six Iraqis, three men and three women were handcuffed and brought from room to room throughout their detention, including through public areas of the airport.

Whether you are a religious leader, a lawyer, or a concerned citizen, these are some resources and ways to get involved: Community Guidance: Restrictions on Muslim Entry to the U.S. Fact Sheet: Executive Order Restricting Muslim Entry to the United States

State of New York: NYS hotline 1-888-769-7243 to protect refugees and report individuals believed to be missing or detained

CLEAR @ CUNY Law School:

The New York Immigration Coalition:

Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs: Call 1-800-354-0365 or 311 and say ActionNYC 

AMAL- The Association of American Muslim Lawyers:

Muslim American Bar Association:

Desis Rising Up and Moving:

New York Civil Liberties Union:

You can help us to get the word out, sponsor actions with our partners and continue our educational and other programing by donating to support our mission:

You can also share (and voice) your support for ICNY and our work by connecting with us on social media:


And encourage your friends to subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.

On the home front, we welcome Vijay Wijesundera as the new Operations Manager in January.

Vijay Wijesundera

ICNY’s new Operations Manager

Born in Sri Lanka, Vijay fled political persecution, and sought asylum in the US. He has been helping at many faith-based homeless shelters and charities in NYC, and is also an avid blood donor. He still is a refugee, but is planning to become a naturalized citizen this year, and we are proud to celebrate his many contributions to American civic life.

In celebration of the Black History Month, we as New Yorkers are blessed to have a packed schedule of events including lectures, readings, exhibitions, and dance and music performances across all 5 boroughs of the New York City. Celebrate Black History Month at these 12 NYC Events.

And, several city neighborhoods — including Manhattan’s Chinatown, Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn — offer authentic Lunar New Year celebrations; here’s  a guide to parades and celebrations in New York City.

Many thanks go to Dr. Henry Goldschmidt who has been Interim Director at the Interfaith Center since December as I have enjoyed a two-month sabbatical writing about Christian Peacemaking, Interfaith Activism, and Islamophobia.

ICNY’s Newsletter for February is available here.

Best Wishes,

Rev. Chloe Breyer
Executive Director
The Interfaith Center of New York


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