Nabil al-Salkini and his older brother Yazan al-Salki arrived in the U.S. two months ago. Soon after, they joined their local mosque which encouraged them to volunteer at their annual Day of Dignity, where they began handing out sleeping bags, food and other items to hundreds of homeless people, many of whom are war veterans.
These boys are doing all this because they want to give back to their community for giving them a home after they fled Syria.
“Life stopped. We lost our home. It got bombed. Burned down. We couldn’t go to school because civil war started. We were about to be persecuted or killed,” says al-Salki. “I really have hope that other people from my community, who are seeking help as I do, have opportunity to come here and start a new life, as we are starting to do…the image of ISIS does not represent us.”
The event is organized by the Islamic Relief nonprofit, which raised $20,000 from the local Muslim community to help keep the homeless warm as temperatures continue to drop.
“It is a shame our politicians are condemning a whole group of people for the acts of a few crazy ones,” said Ken Peterson, a local homeless man. “They don’t have to organize this event, and we (the homeless) really appreciate things like this.”
This Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember that the Syrian refugees are just like our own forefathers who left their home nations in search of a better life, for peace and for religious freedom. ISIS is no more Islamic than the Ku Klux Klan is Christian. These young Syrian refugees in America are proof of that.