Imam Recounts Traumatic Visit to Immigrant Detention Facility in Texas

Imam and activist Omar Suleiman visited a detention facility in McAllen, Texas, where migrant children who have been separated by their families are being held.

“Our idea was to actually go down there to bear witness to try to connect with the children there,” he explained. “So, just hoping that they would know that there are people that actually care about them and that actually love them and that are actually there protesting and that are actually there raising their cause.”

Having visited Syrian refugee camps in the past, Suleiman claims that the Texas detention facilities are even more harsh and restrictive.

“There was a difference with the Syrian refugee camps — and I go twice a year — with those kids, you at least get to hug them. You get to offer some words of comfort,” he explained. “With these kids, they’re looking at you through these windows. They’re staring you in the eyes. They’re shouting, but the glass is completely soundproof so you can’t hear anything they’re saying.”

Suleiman is calling for religious communities to speak out on behalf of the families who can’t speak for themselves, and says that he and many others will be protesting at ICE facilities across the country on the 4th of July.