UK Faith Leaders Write In Support Of Refugees
Over 200 leaders of the UK's major faiths met yesterday morning in London to call on the Prime Minister to do more to help refugees fleeing Syria, Iraq and other areas of conflict. The Amida Order's ::Acharya Modgala Duguid, who does sterling and important work as the ::Network of Buddhist Organisation's interfaith officer, is one of the signatories and spoke at this event (see below).
Here is the Faith Leaders' Open Letter to the Prime Minister, signed by leaders and representatives of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist communities. It includes the words “The best of this country is represented by the generosity, kindness, solidarity and decency that Britain has at many times shown those fleeing persecution, even at times of far greater deprivation and difficulty than the present day. We rejoice in the mosaic of different faiths and British communities that we now represent.” :: link to letter.
This is a ::newspaper report on the event: "Rowan Williams and 200 faith leaders call for revised refugee policy."
and a ::reflection by the Bishop of Croydon
"Why faith leaders are demanding urgent change to the refugee system."
Amnesty is arranging many 'Refugees Welcome' events, including ::this one in London on Saturday, which members of our Amida Malvern sangha will attend.
Some of our great Buddhist teachers came to the west as refugees and brought with them the teachings of wisdom and compassion.
I travelled giving teachings and in 2003 spoke at a psychology conference in Sarajevo. The main concern of the participants was how to help their traumatised children. From running workshops I learnt more about the terrible long term psychological effects of such a war.
Amongst the refugees here in the UK we have many traumatised children and families, the trauma made worse because they are separated and are worried about family members and the dangerous journeys they are taking to escape war. Families need to be together to recover and then can take their place in society.
Once here much help is already available, many of our Buddhist groups are already linking with local communities to help refugees. In the UK there are many people of all faiths and none waiting to help refugees.
As humans we feel an ethical imperative to help and I join my fellow faith leaders in making a plea to this government to design a safe, legal route that can enable reunions.
Acharya Modgala Duguid
Namo Amida Bu