BY SCO Admin | November 13 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

1-BISHOP-JOHN-KEENAN-1

Reach out to refugees

Bishop John Keenan of Paisley urges parishioners to show the ‘best of Caledonian welcomes’ as Syrian refugees arrive in Scotland this month

Bishop John Keenan of Paisley has urged Scots to show the ‘best of Caledonian welcomes’ to the Syrian refugees due to arrive here imminently.

In the next few weeks more than 350 people will arrive in Scotland from refugee camps on the borders of Syria.

“The people coming here are refugees,” Bishop Keenan said. “Perhaps another way of thinking about them is to understand that they are individuals who have faced extraordinary circumstances and hardship. They have lost their homes, their community, and their country. Many of them will have lost loved ones in the conflict. Imagine how we would feel if that happened to us or our families.”

With the Syrian Civil War about to enter it’s fifth year, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed and millions more forced to flee their homes.

Bishop Keenan has taken a leading role in Renfrewshire’s preparations for the arrival of the Syrian groups, helping found the Renfrewshire Refugee Support Group, made up of local, faith, charity and political leaders.

Renfrewshire will be welcoming 50 refugees under the UK Government’s Vulnerable Persons Scheme, which helps people displaced as a result of the civil war in Syria. Renfrewshire council has carried out extensive and detailed work to prepare for their new arrivals.

“I know there have already been expressions of interest from individuals and community groups who want to play their part in helping the newcomers settle in and fully become part of our community,” Bishop Keenan said. “The community of Renfrewshire has already shown its support for locally-organised aid efforts. I look forward to us continuing that same spirit of concern and support.”

Earlier this year, the UK agreed to take 20,000 refugees over a five-year period from the camps surrounding the Middle Eastern country.

Scotland’s Europe Minister Humza Yousaf said our country’s response to the humanitarian crisis had been ‘phenomenal.’

The situation continues to worsen as winter approaches. This week thousands more refugees have been displaced in renewed ISIS advances.

 

—ian@sconews.co.uk

Pic: Paul McSherry

 

—This story ran in full in the November 13 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.

 

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