Islamic Relief USA Honors Jewish Agency Aimed at Resettling Refugees for Protesting Trump's Refugee Ban

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society receives Courage Award award for their 'tireless work' in assisting refugees

A demonstrator holds up a sign during a rally held by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society to mark a National Day of Jewish Action for Refugees, New York, February 12, 2017.
Julie Jacobson/AP

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which resettles refugees in the United States, was honored by the humanitarian organization Islamic Relief USA with its Courage Award for its “tireless work assisting refugees and for standing up against the refugee ban in the court of law.”

HIAS was one of three organizations and six individuals who spearheaded the litigation against U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive orders temporarily banning refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. The orders, one in January and an amended one in March, triggered large protests, some organized by HIAS and other immigration advocacy groups. Islamic Relief was one of the many organizations to join an interfaith amicus brief by religious organizations supporting HIAS’ litigation in opposition to the ban.

Islamic Relief was one of the many organizations to join an interfaith amicus brief by religious organizations supporting HIAS’ litigation in opposition to the ban.

HIAS was honored Wednesday night at an interfaith iftar marking the end of the day’s Ramadan fast at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.. HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield accepted the award on behalf of HIAS. The CEO of Islamic Relief USA, Anwar Khan, presented the award.

“Welcoming immigrants, welcoming refugees. These are not ‘liberal values.’ These are traditional American values,” Khan said. He called on listeners to continue working together to make the world a better place.

“All the Abrahamic faiths are united by the value of hospitality and welcoming the stranger as ourselves, for we were all once strangers in a strange land,” Hetfield said, noting that both HIAS and Islamic Relief USA help people based on need, even as they are both driven by their faiths to do such work.

“When we welcome refugees to the United States, we consider them to be part of our family and our community, no matter what their faith is,” Hetfield also said. “This is because Jewish Americans are a refugee people – there would be no American Jewish community had America not had the courage to open its doors to refugees.”