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Sen. Tom Cotton: U.S. Discriminates against Christian Refugees

Arkansas U.S. Senator Tom Cotton “broke news” today that the U.S. “inadvertently” discriminates against  Christians among Syrian Refugee Admissions.

Map of States Opposing Syrian Refugees  Daily Signal Heritage Foundation 11-17-15

At least that is the impression lent  by the Washington Times, report  this morning,  “U.S. ‘discriminates’ against Christian refugees, accepts 96% Muslims, 3% Christians:”

Less than 3 percent of the Syrian refugees admitted to the United States so far are Christian and 96 percent are Muslim, the result of a referral system that Republican Sen. Tom Cotton says “unintentionally discriminates” against Christians.

State Department figures released Monday showed that the current system overwhelmingly favors Muslim refugees. Of the 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted to the United States so far, only 53 are Christians while 2,098 are Muslim, the Christian News Service reported.

Mr. Cotton and Sen. John Boozman, both Arkansas Republicans, called Monday for a moratorium on resettlements, a White House report on vetting procedures, and a re-evaluation of the refugee-referral process.

“[T]he United States’ reliance on the United Nations for referrals of Syrian refugees should also be re-evaluated,” said Mr. Cotton in a statement. “That reliance unintentionally discriminates against Syrian Christians and other religious minorities who are reluctant to register as refugees with the United Nations for fear of political and sectarian retribution.”

The current system relies on referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Syria’s population in 2011 was 90 percent Muslim and 10 percent Christian, CNS said.

Mr. Cotton and Mr. Boozman called Monday for a temporary moratorium on resettlements and “a requirement that the President certify the integrity of the security vetting process as a condition of lifting the moratorium.”

“The American people have long demonstrated unmatched compassion for the world’s persecuted and endangered. But when bringing refugees to our shores, the U.S. government must put the security of Arkansans and all Americans first,” Mr. Cotton said. “No terrorist should be able to take advantage of the refugee process to threaten the United States.”

This confirms what Mike Bates and I reported in our June 2015 New English Review with Ann Corcoran. See: Trojan Horse Federal Refugee ProgramNote this exchange:

Gordon:  Ann, one of the most disturbing parts of this U.N. controlled program is the patent discrimination against endangered Christian refugees, legitimately, from places like Syria, Iraq and other locations. What is the evidence of that?

Corcoran:  Let’s just take the Syrian refugee issue. So far the State Department has brought in a small number of Syrians, relatively speaking, into the country. One would think that we would be choosing first and foremost the Christians who are in real danger. But we are bringing mostly Sunni Muslims. There were about 800 Syrians who have been brought into the country in the last few years. Now the State Department and the U.N. have 11,000 in the pipeline waiting to come into the U.S.

But of the 800 that have come in so far, approximately 700 are Sunni Muslims, there were only 43 Christians among the Syrian refugees that have come in so far. That translates to approximately 92 percent of refugees coming in from Syria are Muslims.

I’m told that that is mostly because we are bringing them in from U.N. camps, where the Muslims are found.  Christians do not go to the U.N. camps, but to Turkey if they get out of Syria at all, where they’re taken care of by the Syriac church.

That pattern of Christians avoiding UN refugee camps was also cited in our interview with Joseph Kassab of the Iraqi Christian Advocacy and Empowerment Institute in the November NER, Iraqi Christians Face Extinction:

Gordon:  What are the current conditions of Iraqi Christian refugee camps in the Kurdish Region and what kinds of assistance are they receiving?

Kassab:  The current conditions for Iraqi Christian IDPs are very chaotic and horrific. The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) is doing its best to provide for them. However, they are unable to absorb more than 3 million refugees from Syria and Yazidis in their region. The Iraqi government has done nothing for its citizen IDPs. Corruption is very high among the Iraqi government officials and that by itself makes distribution of relief to its IDPs very poor. The UN and humanitarian local and international NGOs are unable to function properly due to lack of coordination and efficient capacity. Therefore people are losing hope and are availing of any opportunity to escape abroad. Christians are urban refugees-IDPs meaning that they do not live in UN refugee camps. Instead they seek shelter with relatives, in unfinished buildings, parks and churches. Overall, this support can be very short lived because volunteering always has a sunset.

Nina Shea of the Washington, DC-based Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom in a separate Fox News.com report added:

The UN is basically unloading; it’s emptying out its camps. It’s not seeking those who are outside its camps, much less giving affirmative action for those who are facing genocide. It’s just an expedience measure for those who are in their own camps, so non-Muslim minorities are poorly represented among them.

What is confounding was the petulant response of President Obama at his Antalya G20 Summit press conference on this matter. His remarks were allegedly directed at US Texas Senator Ted Cruz for having the effrontery to suggest that Syrian Christians and other threatened non-Muslim minorities be granted some preference for Refugee Admissions and Muslims sent to Muslim majority countries. The Washington Timesreported that, “at his G20 news conference Monday in Turkey, President Obama described as ‘shameful’ the idea of giving religious preferences to refugees.”That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion,’ Mr. Obama said.”

We would suggest that the President bone up on how the UN controls who gets admitted as  humanitarian refugees in America. That American taxpayers are funding this plenary program run by executive fiat under the Refugee Act of 1980 co-authored by Vice President Biden and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. It is time for Congress urged on by more than 27 Governors concerned about admission of possible terrorist refugees to do something. That is why US House Speaker Pat Ryan proposed a “pause” in the Syrian Refugee Program.  If  you listen to Deputy National Security Adviser, Ben Rhodes,  Anne Richards, assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, they would have you believe that the 10,000 Syrian Refugees bring brought here in the current fiscal year were all vetted.

This morning I listened to a news conference convened by Voluntary Agencies and NGOs to combat the concerns of the more than two dozen governors.  They represented that the UNHCR has an advanced retina scanning biometric system capable of capturing information to track the millions of displaced Syrian refugees in their camps. That DHS is capable of checking the records of these Syrian refugees despite evidence that documents may either not exist or are forged. Further, that if the Governors of states do not participate in resettlement programs that these very same Voluntary agencies stand ready to make more money to distribute them. Moreover, that if states deny those benefits to refugee clients, the clients with their green cards can simply pick up like any other US citizen and move to another state.  To top things off, they represented that no terrorists have been admitted as refugees.  They obviously forgot  about the  refugee Tsarneav brothers who perpetrated the bloody Boston Marathon bombing. Or the two Iraqi asylees, caught in a 2011 FBI sting in Kentucky purchasing weapons to be sent to Al Qaeda.  Then think of the dozens of Soimali emigre youths recruited by radical Imams to fight and die for Al Shabaab in Somalia. Consider  the Somali emigre aircraft cleaner who had the run of the Twin Cities airport who left to fight and die for ISIS in Syria. Listen to this Syrian Refugee Admissions press conference.

Yesterday, we reported that Florida Governor Rick Scott sent a letter to US House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggesting that for all intent and purposes state governors have no legal standing to contest the Refugee Admissions Program, but that Congress does. He wrote:

It is our understanding that the state does not have the authority to prevent the federal government from funding the relocation of these Syrian refugees to Florida even without state   support.  Therefore, we are asking the United States Congress to take immediate and aggressive action to prevent President Obama and his administration from using any federal tax dollars to fund the relocation of up to 425 Syrian refugees (the total possible number of refugees pending for state relocation support at this time) to Florida, or anywhere in the United States, without an extensive evaluation of the risk these individuals may pose to our national security.

As the federal elected body that exercises oversight and authorizes federal spending, please take any action available through the powers of the United States Congress to prevent federal allocations toward the relocation of Syrian refugees without extensive examination into how this would affect our homeland security.

Note what my Florida State House Representative, Mike Hill, a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and veteran  said in a Pensacola News Journal article on the Governor’s action:

If they come from a country that fosters, supports or defends terrorism as a legitimate activity to achieve a goal, then it doesn’t matter if there is a small number or large number of refugees coming from those nations. We must refuse them entry without a robust vetting process, which we currently do not have.

The first test of that may come on Thursday at a House Immigration Sub Committee Hearing Chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy.  The lineup of witnesses includes:

Ms. Anne C. Richard (Invited)
Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, United States Department of State

Ms. Barbara L. Strack (Invited)
Chief, Refugee Affairs Division, Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

Mr. Seth Jones
Director
International Security and Defense Policy Center, RAND Corporation

Mr. Mark Krikorian
Executive Director
Center for Immigration Studies

Mr. Mark Hetfield
President and Chief Executive Officer
HIAS  (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, one of nine federal resettlement contractors)

Let’s see if the US Refugee Admissions Program executives at the State Department and DHS/ICE show up for this House Immigration Committee hearing. Stay tuned for developments.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Rising Concerns over Muslim Refugee Resettlement in U.S. [Video]

Ann Corcoran’s brief video on Muslim Refugee Resettlement in the U.S. has gone viral since being put up on YouTube on April 20, 2015 by the Center for Security Policy. It has had over 200,735 hits to date climbing every day. Clearly, Corcoran’s message has resonated among concerned Americans. Watch it on YouTube:

Refugee Resettlement and Hijra jpgThe CSP YouTube video is a complement to her recently published book on the problems confronting America over the threat of mass Muslim migration that has transformed Europe and now troubles grass roots America, “Refugee Resettlement and the Hijra to America .

Corcoran and her team chronicle news and developments about this issue on the blog where she is editor, Refugee Resettlement Watch. You may have read our interview with Erick Stakelbeck, ISIS Threat to America  in the current edition of the NER where he drew attention to the Somali refugee communities in the American heartland sending jihadi terrorists in Somali and Syria.  He spoke of young Somali émigré men who have joined up with, first Al Shabaab in Somalia, and now increasingly, join the Islamic State to fight for the self-declared Caliphate in Syria and Iraq.   We have drawn attention to the problems of Somali refugee resettlement in NER articles and Iconoclast posts over the past eight years.  They have  covered  severe cultural and integration problems in the American heartland  in places like Shelbyville, TennesseeEmporia, KansasGreeley , ColoradoMinneapolis, Minnesota,  Columbus, Ohio, and Lewiston, Maine.

The Somali émigré jihadis aren’t the only terrorists among admitted refugees. Think of the brothers Tsarneav who perpetrated the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013. See our NER article, “Refugee Jihad Terror in Boston.”  An ABC investigation reported that dozens of terrorists have been admitted fraudulently under the U.S. Refugee Admission Program.

 One example was two Iraqi refugees, al Qaeda operatives, arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 2011 convicted in 2013. They were charged with sending weapons and cash to Al Qaeda. They lied on their Federal Refugee Admission forms about their prior terrorist involvements in Iraq. One had constructed IEDs, involved in killing four members of a Pennsylvania National guard unit in 2006 in Iraq. A check of fingerprints on the shards of the IED caught the perpetrator. Watch this 2013 ABC Report. Recently, one of those convicted, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, filed a motion seeking to overturn his conviction because his counsel said he wouldn’t get life.  That episode briefly raised the criticism of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

In excess of 250,000 Somali and Iraqis have been admitted to the U.S. as refugees.  An estimated one million have immigrated to the U.S. from Muslim lands. Through births and admittance of relatives under the problematic P-3 Family Reunification Visa program the impact could mean millions of additional Muslim émigrés in the U.S.  Virtually all of the Somali and Iraqi refugees were Muslim.  Endangered Christians and other minority religion accounted for less than 8 percent of Syrian Refugees admitted under the State Department administered U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Eleven Christian, Jewish and special interest NGOs or voluntary agencies (VOLAGS) are paid by the billion dollar State Department refugee program to process and place refugees in American communities. VOLAGS like Catholic Charities, Lutheran World Services, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the International Rescue Committee. The total annual federal and state program costs of refugee resettlement are estimated to range in excess of $12 to $20 billion annually.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees  establishes priorities for U.S. Admissions under the Refugee Act of 1980. An Act co-sponsored by the late Edward Kennedy and then Senator, now Vice President in the Obama Administration, Joe Biden. The U.S. may be poised to accept another wave of over 75,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.   Doubtless they and growing number of  Muslim refugees from  elsewhere in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia will be “seeded”  in American cities under the Fostering Community Engagement  and Welcoming Communities Project of  the Office of Refugee  Resettlement with the Soros-backed  NGO, “Welcoming America“.

 But now there is pushback by American cities, as witnessed by concerns expressed in letters to Secretary of State Kerry by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Judiciary Sub Committee on Immigration and Border Security. Both The House Subcommittee and the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, chaired by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) hold annual hearings over refugee allotments. Gowdy’s letter of April 13, 2015 was prompted by constituent complaints in Spartanburg, South Carolina of the establishment of a VOLAG office to processing Muslim refugees. He wrote Secretary Kerry seeking answers as to why the office was being established and had not been reviewed with state and local agencies. He ended his letter:

I request that any plans to resettle refugees in the Spartanburg, South Carolina, area be placed on hold until my constituents and I receive your substantive responses to the questions and information requested in this letter. Additionally, before moving forward, both the Spartanburg community and I should have time to substantively review the information and be comfortable with the information provided.

As previously stated, I am troubled by the lack of notice and coordination with my office and the Spartanburg community, particularly local officials, regarding the plans to resettle refugees in the area. In that vein, I request at least one month’s notice prior to the arrival of the first refugee[s] in the Spartanburg area.

To find out more about what could become an important issue for evaluation of 2016 Presidential candidates, be sure to listen to an interview with Ann Corcoran of RRW by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates on 1330am WEBY “Your Turn.” The program will air at 5:30 PM CDT (6:30 PM EDT), Tuesday, May 12th.  You may Listen Live here. The recorded program will be archived and posted following the broadcast.  A transcript of the interview may appear in the June edition of the NER.

RELATED ARTICLES:

U.S. Welcomes Millions of Aliens ‘Sight Unseen’

“A Growing Threat”: You’ll be Amazed at the Number of Immigrants Who Have Come to America From Muslim Countries Since 9/11

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Let the Little Children Come Unto Me: What is Behind the Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border?

This morning on Fox and Friends I watched  a segment  with Texas Governor, Rick Perry.  He  drew  attention to the spike in Central American, Syrian and other Middle Eastern illegal immigrants seeking asylum . The Washington Times quoted as  saying:

That the Obama administration has dropped the ball on border security and must improve diplomatic relations with Central American nations to stem the surge of illegal immigrants trying to cross the nation’s southern border.

This president is totally and absolutely either inept, or making some decisions that are not in the interest of American citizens, particularly from the public safety standpoint.

The federal government must step up because Texas does not have the money or manpower to protect its 1,200 mile southern border.

Then Perry went on to express an abiding concern about illegal immigrants harboring possible terrorist threats:

There are a record number of illegal immigrants that are being apprehended at the border that come from countries that are home to groups that pose a threat to the United States.

These people are coming from states like Syria that have substantial connections back to terrorist regimes and terrorist operations. It is a huge problem and a great concern.

Last week Fox Latino there was a report on radioactive materials in Mexico stolen by armed gun men at  the National Construction Lab. They seized Cesium 37 and  americium-beryllium  that could be used for  creation of  a terrorist device. Last December some thieves in Mexico stole a vehicle with deadly Cobalt 60 virtually assuring their demise from radiation sickness.  Then we recall the 2011 episode involving  a Mexican drug cartel,  Iran’s Qud Force working with an Iranian American plotting to kill the Saudi Ambassador to Washington.  The Iranian American was convicted in June 2013 to 25 years for his role in the assassination plot.

Governor Perry’s comments come in the face of a veritable onslaught of unaccompanied alien minors and women and small children from Central America swarming our borders.  There are daily reports news stories about youngsters being warehoused, and given medical treatment.  They are given bus tickets to stay with alleged relatives on the promise to show up for a Immigration court  to hear  their petition for asylum.  They are threatened with physical harm by the rampant drug related murders in Central American countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The Wall Street Journal investigated the concerns expressed by Texas Governor  Perry in an article yesterday, “Migrant Surge Jams Border”.

Frustration is mounting along the Texas border as federal officials struggle to check a surge of Central Americans illegally crossing into the state—an influx critics say is being aggravated because the Obama administration is allowing more migrants, primarily women traveling with children, to be released into the U.S. pending deportation proceedings.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hasn’t disclosed statistics on how many immigrants it has released. But the agency has confirmed that due to a shortage of detention space in Texas, it has shipped hundreds of immigrants recently apprehended in Texas to Arizona for processing, and subsequently dropped some off at bus stations there, allowing them to travel to locations around the country until they can be deported.

Texas US Democrat Congressman Henry Cuellar  was cited in the WSJ report  pointed  to the  11,000 illegals who were effectively let go in the Rio Grande Valley and other border locations.  The numbers are staggering.  The DHS has stepped up deportations from 235,093  last fiscal year, up from 151,893 four years earlier.

The major concern are those unaccompanied alien minors as the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement calls them.  The number doubled over the previous fiscal year to more than 47,017 and federal officials expect that to double to in excess of 90,000.  Last Tuesday, the Senate Appropriation Committee authorized  $2 Billion to address the problem,  a billion more than the Obama Administration requested.  The Federal government has an obligation to handle unaccompanied minors separately.

The reality is the current surge is literally swamping the Immigration Courts system used to handle asylum and deportation matters.  Currently the backlog exceeds 350,000 pending cases.

Watch this CNN news video on the crisis in unaccompanied minors illegal immigrants on the Southern border:

The Refugee Act of 1980 was enacted to comply with international standards for handling humanitarian refugees which meant complying with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees program.  The Act has resulting in over 3 million refugees  being settled in the US,  granting them temporary cash benefits, Medicaid eligibility and a Green Card leading to US citizenship in five years. The refugee resettlement program has been fraught with fraud especially among Somali and other African refugees. It has allowed asylum for Iraqi terrorists in Kentucky  and on April 15, 2013, the refugee  Tsarneav Brothers  from Dagestan committed the Boston Marathon Massacre. Then there are Somali émigrés who  returned to their country to fight and die for Al Shebaab, an Al Qaeda affiliate.  The current crisis in the Middle East looms large on the refugee program with the prospect of more than 20,000 Syrian refugee eligible for settlement here.

The Refugee Act is overdue for an overhaul that a number of critics have suggested requires Congressionally sponsored Government Accountability Office audits and  special investigative hearings. The estimated administrative cost of the Refugee Resettlement program exceeds $2 billion annually, not counting the recent Senate Appropriations aimed at dealing with the influx unaccompanied alien minors.  Add to that state welfare and Medicaid costs and some immigration experts maintain that the annual costs could well exceed $10 to 12 billion annually.

The late Sen. Ted Kennedy was a sponsor of the 1980 Refugee Act.  The co-sponsor of that was then Sen. Joe Biden. Vice President Biden  was on  a trip  this week to Central American countries endeavoring to stem the tide. As the WSJ article noted one Administration official said “that they were looking at ways to “enhance”  their support to these Central American countries.   Further they are urging parents to ‘think twice’ about sending children on such a dangerous journey that doesn’t result in long-term residency in the U.S.”

So who is fomenting the current humanitarian crisis on our southern border? Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch suggested in a recent article that may be the same religious groups that were behind the so-called Sanctuary Movement of the 1980’s in the Southwestern US that sent illegals across the country, “Invasion on the border: religious groups telling them to come!

Corcoran cites a Border Patrol officer reflecting the comments of unaccompanied alien minors as to who told them to come here:

Cueto (Art Del Cueto, president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 in Tucson) says when he asked a group of children about their motivation, they spoke of the “announcer on the radio” who encouraged them to head for the United States. Cueto says Central American radio, television, other media, and religious groups have all encouraged people to move north to the United States.

Who are those religious groups suggesting that these Central American children come here? The beneficiaries of the recent Senate emergency appropriation to take care of these children, Voluntary Agencies authorized by the federal Refugee Resettlement programs. They are:

This surge is indicative of the Cloward Piven strategy espoused by two Columbia University social work theorists in the 1960’s. Their thesis was swamping the system would result in a crisis and force transformation to benefit the least able among us.  Thus, the voluntary agencies in the Refugee Resettlement community are simply following the Parable of Matthew 14:19 : Let the little children come unto me. Jim Holt of the Gateway Pundit blog tells the whole story with this headline, “Obama’s Cloward Piven Strategy floods Southern US with Illegal Immigrant Children.

RELATED ARTICLE: Texas Ranchers Under Attack, Overrun by Illegal Immigrants

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Muslim Refugees Take Over Former Catholic Church in Syracuse, New York

With the drop in church attendance in Europe amidst mass Muslim immigration we have witnessed conversions of empty churches into Mosques.  Historically,  we saw the ancient Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica of Hagia Sophia converted into an imperial Mosque following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul)  in the  15th Century and then into a Museum in the 20th Century. Perhaps given the rise of a neo-Ottoman Caliphate under Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, the Museum might be reconverted to a Mosque.

In Spain, the Mezquita Cathedral in Cordoba, once the site of a pagan temple under the Visigoths, was converted by the Umayyad Dynasty into the fabled Great Mosque. Then following the Reconquista in the 13th Century by Ferdinand 1st the Mezquita became a Cathedral once again.   Since 2004, The Islamic Society of Spain has petitioned both Spain and the Vatican to permit Muslims to once again roll out their prayer rugs in the Mezquita and pray in a venue they once held in Al Andaluz. Those requests have been rejected. In March 2010 118 Austrian Muslims  staged a dramatic event at the Mezquita Cathedral.  Unrolling their prayer rugs,  praying loudly, they attacked security guards when  told by them  to stop injuring two.  In March 2013, Spanish Court acquitted eight of the Muslim assailants.

In the US we have witnessed churches and even synagogues sharing worship space with Muslim communities. However, we have also witnessed a dramatic rise in mega-Mosque construction projects roiling many communities across the US from lower Manhattan to the Buckle of the Bible Belt in Tennessee and Orange County in California.  Notwithstanding that groundbreaking trend, some abandoned churches have been purchased by Muslim communities and converted into Mosques.

There is an abundant supply of closed or excess former churches. The Barna Group estimates that upwards of 4,000 Protestant churches are closed annually. While the US Catholic population has grown by more than half to 69 million according to Catholic World News, nevertheless 1,800 parishes have closed over the past 20 years.

One of those parish churches that closed is Holy Trinity  Roman Catholic Church in Syracuse, New York, that held its last Mass in February 2010.  Now, it is being purchased and converted into a Mosque by the burgeoning refugee population in Central New York.  The irony is that this is being abetted by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of the leading voluntary agencies ,VOLAGS,  engaged in processing refugee resettlement. It and other contractors are  funded by US taxpayers under programs administered by our State and Health and Human Services Departments.

Our colleague at Refugee Resettlement Watch, Ann Corcoran, wrote about the conversion of  Holy Trinity parish in Syracuse in a recent blog post, that bears witness to this latest development, “Syracuse: Refugee group buys Catholic Church, will be converted to a mosque”.

Corcoran writes:

….because Muslim refugee population is growing.

It is a cold and rainy Sunday morning and I’m not easily discouraged, but I have to say this story is depressing.  Most people don’t understand that Islam marks its victories by turning Christian churches into mosques.  Surely there are other buildings available in Syracuse.

***Update*** American Thinker has published a post on this travesty.  From CNY Central:

For close to six decades, Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church on Syracuse’s north side was Anna Giannantomio’s church. She fought the Catholic Diocese decision to close it in 2010. While she believes everyone should be free to practice the religion they choose – she doesn’t understand why a new Islamic society wants to remove the crosses and move into the historic Catholic Church.

“This place was put into historical preservation and rightfully so,” said Giannantomio.

Crosses to be removed:

Holy Trinity was recently purchased by the North Side Learning Center, a volunteer group that assists refugees and immigrants. Northside Learning Center will lease the church to an Islamic society which would rename it Mosque of Jesus the Son of Mary. The North Side Learning Center has also filed a request with the Landmark Preservation Board to remove the crosses on the steeples and grounds.  [Those who care in Syracuse should file a protest with the Preservation Board—ed]

Professor Margaret Thompson from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School says nearly 75% of refugees settling in Syracuse are Muslimand that religious freedom has been bringing immigrants to America for hundreds of years.

“Holy Trinity was founded to welcome German immigrants to Syracuse when it was originally built and now it’s welcoming a new cohort of immigrants,” said Thompson.

Anna Giannantonio wants everyone to have a place to worship. She emigrated from Italy as a teenager and understands the discrimination many Muslims face in America but Giannantonio wishes the church that welcomed her to the U.S. would stay a Catholic church.

“I don’t want to hurt anybody but the building should remain as it is,” said Giannantomio.

The North Side Learning Center is now making repairs to the buildings. They hope the mosque will be ready to open in June.

Syracuse refugee program is changing and we recommend if you live there you need to start researching and reporting to your local community. The Northside Learning Center is probably operating on taxpayer dollars so you have a right to demand more information about their activities.

Syracuse is a preferred resettlement site chosen by the US State Department, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS) and the contractors.

New York is one of the top states with a large African and Middle Eastern Muslim population, here.  Demographic change is what it’s all about.  Once they get the population numbers almost nothing else matters.

Ironically the largest resettlement contractor, bringing the most Muslims to your towns and cities, is the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.