(CHICAGO, IL, 4/08/16) – Two interfaith leaders from Chicago, Halil Demir and Reverend C.J. Hawking, met in Turkey to visit Zahra University, a school for Syrian refugees sponsored by Zakat Foundation of America and located in the southeastern city of Gaziantep. As the Executive Directors of the Zakat Foundation and ARISE-Chicago, respectively, the two leaders visited the school as part of a general tour of the accommodations for refugees in southern Turkey, where over two million have settled.
The visit provided an occasion for dialogue with the faculty and staff of Zahra University around the refugee issue and the unique challenges faced by people fleeing war and violence. “It is very inspiring, and an honor to meet the determined staff at Zahra,” said Rev. Hawking.
Going forward, Zakat Foundation and ARISE-Chicago will continue to work together to unite working families and communities of faith in projects that protect the basic rights of all people by tapping into the social justice roots of religious traditions. As Chicago increases its intake and resettlement of refugees, projects like Zahra University can serve as examples for empowering refugee communities to overcome adversity and flourish in the face of the challenges of resettlement.
CONTACT: Zakat Foundation of America Public Relations Coordinator, Jamie Merchant, (708)233-0555, [email protected]