They hustled into the church on a biting winter evening, unburdened themselves of scarves and gloves, and settled into pews to sound out words in Arabic.
“Ahlan fii Rutland,” said Fran Knapp, a retiree who lives about 20 minutes away, one of two or three dozen people who have attended a class here on rudimentary Arabic.
It was one of many preparations this remote city in central Vermont is making before 100 refugees from Syria and Iraq arrive here over the next year, with the first expected to come later this month.
The plan’s fiercest advocate has been the mayor of Rutland, Christopher Louras, who has cited not the moral argument for resettling refugees, but an economic one: This shrinking city, long removed from its heyday as a marble producer and regional railroad hub, needs every new resident it can get. Syrian refugees, he has said, are an opportunity.
“Rutland’s demographic condition right now is not just one of a declining population, but it’s also a graying population,” said Mr. Louras, who became the mayor about 10 years ago as a Republican, but has since become an independent. “We need people,” he added.
Jan 22, 2020A Myanmar-appointed panel concluded on Monday (Jan 20) that some soldiers likely committed war crimes against its Rohingya Muslim community but the military was not guilty of genocide, findings swiftly condemned by rights groups. The “Independent Commission Of Enquiry (ICOE)” released the results of its probe just ahead of a ruling on Thursday by the […]
Mar 22, 2019
Mar 21, 2019