Living in a nation that has become entrenched in racial division, UNC Muslim Student Association Community Service Chair Rizk Alghorazi sees it as his responsibility to provide more than just an education to Middle Eastern refugees. He wants to provide them a home.
“If someone speaks Arabic and is a Muslim, you’re really negligent if you don’t do anything for the refugees coming in, even as an American,” Alghorazi said. “They’re coming in, they’re totally confused, they don’t know what’s going on. You come and show them, ‘Hey, look, we’re here to help, we can show you the ropes and show you how things go over here.’"
Alghorazi leads the Refugee Program, an effort by the MSA that began last year. The program looks to provide tutors for refugees of all ages throughout the Triangle, helping them adapt to the dramatic shift in educational, cultural and living requirements they’re experiencing. The MSA wants to foster a healthy environment for refugees to build long-lasting bonds within the community.
Volunteers both within and separate from MSA meet with the refugees from Monday to Thursday every week for two hours. The Zakat Foundation of America, a Muslim nonprofit dedicated to assisting the needs of poor communities, connects the MSA with these refugees, who can range anywhere from 2 years old to full-grown adults.
Ahmet Hatip, a sophomore who volunteers for the Refugee Program, pointed out the complications this system can cause.