Various religions, traditions, ethnic backgrounds and ages were represented in the nearly 200 people mingling Sunday in a packed room at St. Simon's Episcopal Church in Arlington Heights.
They brainstormed ways to actively build solidarity in their communities. They discussed the importance of respecting those who have beliefs different from their own. And through speeches given by local religious leaders, they learned the basic tenets of Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Christianity regarding the treatment of immigrants.
"This is beautiful. This is America," said Rev. Corey Brost, co-founder of the Children of Abraham Coalition. "This is what we stand for in this country."
The Interfaith Immigration Forum, organized by the coalition, aimed to inspire its attendees to take action in light of new and more aggressive national immigration enforcement guidelines. Though President Donald Trump's orders call for widening the pool of undocumented immigrants targeted for deportation and hiring more enforcement agents, Brost said most religions believe refugees and vulnerable immigrants should be welcomed and protected.
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