Mosque Joins Growing Sanctuary Movement As Trump Pledges To Crackdown On Immigration

Clifton MosqueFacebook

A Muslim imam has pledged to risk being sent to jail as part of efforts to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Imam Ismaeel Chartier's Clifton mosque is thought to be the first Islamic house of worship to offer itself as a place of sanctuary.

"We will stand with them, behind them, in front of them, and we will demand their rights," Chartier said, according to WLWT.com.

He added that he was willing to go to jail if necessary.

There is a long-held precedent for churches providing a safe space for undocumented immigrants who are wanted by police, but it is not guaranteed by law.

Places of worship are considered to be "sensitive locations" by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

Guidelines state: "Enforcement actions at or focused on sensitive locations such as schools, places of worship, and hospitals should generally be avoided."

But the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, Gail Greenwell, said: "There is no legal protection for sanctuary. There just has been a long and historic and honourable tradition."

Clifton mosque has pledged to provide accommodation for at least 15 individuals who need shelter, and is among a growing number of places of worship to offer help.

Across the US, more than 800 congregations have joined the movement – the majority of them churches and synagogues.

The movement has grown in response to President Trump's vow to crack down on immigration.

"It took us no time to decide that this was the ethical and moral thing to do," Chartier said, according to RNS. "We want to help reclaim humanity for everyone."

"We have really adopted a heavy policy of social justice," he added. "It was already a part of us, but we made it a foundational principle to found our community on."

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