Hawaii is the most ethnically and racially diverse state in the USA and is a testament to the blessings of welcoming and incorporating immigrants and refugees. The Hawaiian ethos of Aloha serves as the guiding spirit of our society. The members of East Hawaii Inter-Faith Communities in Action, consisting of diverse religions who have immigrated to these islands, express our wholehearted affirmation and support of those in our community who have chosen Hawaii as their new home. Whether they have fled violence and turmoil in their own countries or have been attracted by the beacon of freedom and hope represented by our nation, we welcome them and cherish the gifts of diversity and promise they bring.
Our organization includes Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith groups. Each of our religions teaches compassion and support for the stranger and sojourner. Each of our faiths has experienced persecution and prejudice in our histories. The United States of America was founded on principles of religious freedom. We affirm our solidarity with our Muslim and Jewish neighbors and friends who are now under threat and attack because of their religious identity. We stand with them now in the face of religious discrimination and hate crimes directed toward individuals or communities, and we defend their civil liberties.
While we fully understand the need for security protocols and proper vetting procedures of immigrants and refugees seeking entrance to our country, we repudiate the current administration’s executive orders regarding asylum seekers, the border wall, the ban on admissions of any refugees for a period of time, as well as the ban on admitting all refugees, immigrants and visitors from selected countries. We believe these orders are not in keeping with the values and moral fabric of our nation.
We call on our political leaders to hold high the beacon of religious liberty and compassion to the peoples of world. We also call for the continued reception of properly vetted refugees as is our responsibility as a nation of compassion. In a climate of heightened anxiety, we call upon our neighbors and friends to reach beyond our fears and divisions to find common ground in welcoming the stranger, protecting our religious freedoms, and in fostering the spirit of Aloha in our state and nation.