Rally in downtown Louisville calls for acceptance of Syrian refu - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Rally in downtown Louisville calls for acceptance of Syrian refugees

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Mayor Greg Fischer speaks to the crowd. Mayor Greg Fischer speaks to the crowd.
U.S. Representative John Yarmuth speaks to the people who gathered downtown. U.S. Representative John Yarmuth speaks to the people who gathered downtown.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Mayor Greg Fischer joined with other community leaders to hold a rally for acceptance of Syrian refugees Tuesday evening.

Around 200 people gathered in Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville for the rally, calling on others to accept Syrian refugees.

Kentucky is one of 24 states still accepting Syrian refugees. In fact, more than 90 have already been accepted in Kentucky -- many of which settled in Louisville.

“I think it’s important that we in this country keep our arms open to people who we know are going to make our country better,” said Joe Fischer, who attended the rally.

Meanwhile Indiana Governor Mike Pence is refusing to allow more Syrian refugees to resettle in his state, citing security concerns. Pence recently said that he’s “deeply moved” by the Syrian refugees but that the federal government must close “security gaps” before any more Syrians are allowed to move to the United States.

“We do have security interests that we need to be very vigilant about,” said U.S. representative John Yarmuth (D- KY 3rd District) at Tuesday’s rally. “ But what we've seen recently has nothing to do with security. It has to do with turning our back on people who desperately need our help.”

Local Islamic leaders are feeling frustration as well.

“These are trying times because we need to be more vigilant,” said Louisville Islamic Center spokesman Dr. Muhammad Babar. “We need to be more compassionate and remember ISIS and those groups are our common enemy.”

Leaders say the goal of the rally Tuesday was to shows Louisville’s solidarity with Paris, Beirut and Mali which all experienced recent terror attacks. The goal was also to show the other city leaders that cities can welcome Syrian refugees and be safe at the same time.

“When we open our arms to people, at times like that in life, in reminds us of who we are inside,” Joe Fischer said.

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