News of the Week 11.20.15

How is Detroit reacting to the Syrian refugee dilemma?

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Detroit Free Press religion reporter Niraj Warikoo about Michigan’s response to the Syrian refugee dilemma.
  • Snyder’s Stance: Warikoo says Governor Snyder was the first governor in the country to publicly raise concerns over the entry of Syrian refugees into the United States. He adds that Snyder’s position contradicts his previous pro-immigration sentiments. Warikoo quotes Snyder as saying “I’m the most pro-immigration governor,” while giving a speech to American Muslims in Hamtramck just two weeks ago. 
  • Metro Detroit’s Stance: Warikoo says Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s request to halt the refugee community center in Pontiac, which would help the local community as well as immigrants, is ultimately going to hurt Pontiac and Oakland County. He adds that in contrast to national popular public opinion, local conservative and Christians are sympathetic to the Muslim community and the refugees. 
  • Understanding Islam: Henderson asks how hard it is to get people to understand what Islam is and is not. Warikoo says, “It’s important to remember that the Muslim community in Michigan has been here a long time … going back a hundred years we’ve had mosques in Metro Detroit.”  He points out that they are, by no means, newcomers, and calls them an “integral part of the community.”