Member of the religious community of Rhode Island, including Episcopalians from that diocese, welcomed the first Syrian refugees to arrive in that state. They had been turned away by the Governor of Indiana, where they were originally to have gone, but welcomed in Rhode Island.
The Providence Journal reports:
An airport greeting party Thursday cheered the first Syrian refugee family to be resettled in Rhode Island — among fewer than 3,000 Syrians resettled in the United States since a civil war broke out in Syria in 2011.
At the foot of the T.F. Green Airport escalator, greeters held welcome signs in Arabic and English, and gift bags of crayons, coloring books, toys and candy for the children. The crowd included representatives from Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, the sponsoring agency that will help smooth the family’s adjustment to their lives here.
“I am very happy, very gratified and very optimistic to be here,” said Hussein Ghazala, as his wife, Bidur Diabkilli, and their three children — ages 8, 7, and 6 — accepted embraces. The family spent several years in Turkey after fleeing civil war in their homeland. They arrived in Rhode Island from Chicago, the international port of entry where they received final clearance to the U.S. on Wednesday.
Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island W. Nicholas Knisely says the family flew into T.F. Green Airport in Warwick on Thursday night and were greeted by a group of religious leaders and Syrian-Americans.
The refugees’ names and where they will be living were not immediately disclosed. The Rhode Island State Council of Churches said the family includes a couple and their three children, ages 6, 7 and 8.
— Diocese of RI (@EpiscopalRI) February 11, 2016