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TAMPA, Fla. - The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area has offered to host migrant children currently separated from their parents -- and the offer includes all transportation costs as well as expenses incurred by hosting the children by the volunteer families.
Spokesperson Ahmed Bedier, along with leaders of the Tampa Bay Muslim community and other local interfaith leaders announced the self-funded foster-care type program offer at a news conference on June 19.
"Our religious faith calls upon us to protect the young, to protect children, and emphasizes the importance of keeping families connected. In fact there is a strong tradition in our faith that our prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, once said that there is a great punishment for the person that separates the child form their mother. And in that spirit we are coming forward to offer a solution to the crisis...
"We are offering to host all 2300 migrant children who are currently in detention. this hosting also includes the cost of transportation. We've secured the pledges from local community members as well as business individuals ... to cover the cost of transportation and to bring them here to Tampa Bay, and we have hundreds of Muslim familite that are prepared to host these children in their homes, at their own cost, with the goal that they will continue to be taken care of until they can be reunified with their parents or next of kin.
"We don't want to get into the blame game or point fingers at who's to blame... what matters is how to move forward. We have plenty of time to discuss, in the future, who is responsible, who to hold accountable, but right now, before we get to that, we need to take care of these kids."
The group called on the Trump Administration as well as the Department of Homeland Security to take immediate steps to release the children, and work with the Tampa Bay group to relocate them to safe and secure places as soon as possible.
In addition, the Rev. Dr. Russell Meyer Executive Director of the Florida Council of Churches and local Lutheran pastor spoke, noting the role of Lutheran churches in helping to resettle refugees in the wake of WW2.