From time to time, Connect-Clarksburg will run a story asking for "Public Input" from our readers. We want to know your opinion and thoughts on matters important to West Virginia and to our hometown. The following story is by Matt Macarro, WV MetroNews:
A crowd gathered in downtown Charleston Tuesday evening to support Syrian refugees being allowed into West Virginia.
The controversy surrounding the admittance of refugees has swirled in recent weeks, particularly in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris about 12 days ago.
The organization called “WV Welcomes” staged the rally near the Kanawha River on the corner of Court and Capitol streets in favor bringing in refugees, holding signs with slogans such as “WV No Place for Hate” and “We Are All Immigrants.”
“We have an opportunity here to be welcoming of people that are in real terrible need,” said Ward 9 Councilwoman Mary Beth Hoover. “And at the same time, these are people who may come and build a productive life here in West Virginia.”
Dr. Sameh Asal, the Imam of the West Virginia Islamic Association, spoke passionately at the rally, believing refugees in need shouldn’t be turned away because of the horrific deeds of a few.
“We should not be penalizing the refugees in need for the actions of a few people who happen to be Muslims,” said Asal.
Brenda Arthur stood by herself on the other side of street against the bringing in of refugees; she said that if she had known about the rally further in advance, she would have brought a crowd of her own.
“Our country is being invaded by all kinds of people. And now our government is complicit in it,” Arthur said. “These people are not compatible with our values, our culture; our language. Even the part of the world they come from; the climate.”
Photos by Matt Macarro.