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Sanctuary movement continues to grow

Sanctuary movement continues to grow (Brad Underwood/WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The prospect of a Muslim registry and mass deportations under the Trump administration continue to spark fear and anger.

Those ideas were major talking points for Trump during the campaign but have since been walked back a bit. Still, that's not stopping local faith leaders from talking about "what ifs".


People may remember in the early 80's, the sanctuary movement providing safe-haven for Central American refugees fleeing civil conflict. While the roots of sanctuary precede us all, the movement was alive and had a lot of support in Cincinnati moving toward the presidency of Donald Trump.

At least six different faith traditions and dozens of denominations were all in one room Sunday, December 18. Many of the world's religions were represented. From Unitarian to Evangelical from Muslim to Jewish communities and everyone in between.

Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp said, "We are compelled by the moment we are in right now that there's an urgency to express our compassion to people who are most vulnerable in the world right now."

The gathering was to help train faith leaders on sanctuary and how to provide a safe place for immigrants and those who feel they are in danger.

"My religious ancestors were sheltered from persecution by Muslims from the Ottoman Empire during the time of reformation,” Tim Kraus of First Unitarian Church said. “I would hope this country would could welcome other people who are suffering oppression from violence and war in the same fashion."


Kraus' story paralleled the story of many in the room and their ancestors. For Ismaeel Chartier, Imam of the Clifton mosque where the meeting was held, the idea of sanctuary was something everyone was all called to; to help people. While everyone in the room prayed there would be no mass deportation, no Muslim registry, the future was uncertain. The group will stand together preparing to be called on if needed because they believe in the tradition of this country. A tradition of accepting people of oppression.

The group plans to hold another event January 8, and other events closer to the presidential inauguration and Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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