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Rotary community still committed to Syrian refugees

AMHERST – The president of the Amherst Rotary Club is hoping last week’s terrorist attack in Paris won’t sideline the plan to bring at least one Syrian refugee family to the Amherst area.

Rotarians are working with other community groups to sponsor the relocation of a refugee family and have put up the first funds required for sponsorship.

“I’ve been thinking about the refugee project and the recent attacks by ISIS in Paris and Beirut. Their goal is to have us live in fear and fear is paralyzing,” Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin said. “It is important for individuals and communities to see past the fear and live with a purpose and love of our neighbours.”

Smith-McCrossin said love always overcomes fear, “even in a situation like we find ourselves in right now in the world.”

The Rotary president said the Canadian government has intelligence in place and all the individuals coming to Canada will be screened by the RCMP and CSIS. She said the Syrian people need help and Canadians should not forget this is a humanitarian crisis.

“We cannot turn our backs,” she said.

The terrorist attack in Paris on Nov. 13 has frayed nerves around the globe with some leaders calling for a slower process. The Canadian government has indicated it still plans to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year, something that prompted Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall to call on new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to suspend the program to avoid someone who wishes to cause harm to the country getting into Canada because of a rushed refugee program.

One of those responsible for the Paris attacks had posed as a refugee in Greece before making his way to the French capital.

Amherst Rotarians announced in late September they were putting up $5,000 toward the local effort to sponsor a Syrian refugee family. The club also wants to spearhead the community effort to bring a family to the area and is inviting other community groups and service clubs to participate.

Similar moves are happening across the country, including in Sackville, N.B.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell


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