We thank everyone who attended the inaugural Luce-Hartford Conference. Coverage of the conference can be found at this link.
Where Is Home? The Refugee Crisis in Europe and the U.S.
The war in Syria and general unrest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has created a humanitarian crisis for millions of forced migrants (displaced persons, refugees and asylum seekers) from the Middle East. This has generated logistical and resource challenges for European nations and cities. The arrival of significant numbers of Muslims has prompted debates in Europe about a cultural and religious shift that may endanger traditional European cultures. In addition, ongoing terrorist threats and incidents continue to drive public and political debates about security and public safety, producing an atmosphere of anxiety and fear.
The recent U.S. Presidential Executive Orders halting the resettlement of refugees, as well as other legal immigration from Muslim-Majority countries has created a legal, ethical and moral debate in society. The call to reform the immigration system, prevent or provide stricter control on those coming from “terrorist ridden countries,” or even a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, has cut into the very fabric of the ideals of the Republic. Some public figures have even expressed concern that these immigrant communities do not share democratic ideals or cannot integrate or assimilate into European or American cultures. Ultimately, these debates have led to a rise in hate crimes against Muslim communities in Europe and North America.
And yet, Middle Eastern migration to Europe and the United States is not a new phenomenon. Europeans and Americans of Middle Eastern descent have been well established for generations. The current foreign crises have prompted renewed episodes of xenophobia and Islamophobia that threaten the identity and livelihood of previously established and accepted citizens and residents of Middle Eastern descent.
The 2017 Luce-Hartford conference is intended to provide an opportunity for religious leaders and others to engage as communities of “moral deliberation,” to reflect and offer up practical opportunities for engagement in the public sphere based upon their own spiritual, scriptural and theological resources. The conference will address:
- The impact of forced migration to Europe and the response of European Christian communities to this crisis.
- The impact of the 2017 US Presidential Executive Orders halting the resettlement of refugees, and the restriction of immigration from several Muslim-Majority countries.
- The role and advocacy of refugee resettlement among Christian communities in Europe and America.
- The impact of crisis on images of Middle Eastern peoples and its contribution to Islamophobia.
- Humanitarian and theological proposals for responses to the crisis.
Questions regarding the Luce-Hartford Conference may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.