The death of Linda’s seven-day-old infant boy changed everything.
He was killed in a hospital bombing in Damascus in 2012. He was the only boy among her six kids.
Linda, her husband and 5 daughters fled to Lebanon.
There, they lived on UN meals stamps for two years whilst undergoing the lengthy procedure of applying for asylum in the United States.
Sitting at a picnic table, watching her daughters run about in the playground of a mosque in Baltimore, she stated the process was difficult.
“What can I inform you? They asked concerns about your complete life since birth — what did you do?” she mentioned.
“Not only you — about your relatives, about your parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, all of your loved ones, the whole loved ones history.”
Linda and her household arrived in Baltimore in late 2014, amongst a handful of Syrian refugees to settle in the US city in the previous few years.
Her husband functions as a delivery driver, her five daughters are in college and, for the first time in her life, Linda has learned how to drive.
“Of course I’m satisfied,” she said, seeking at her eldest daughter, 16-year-old Faiyza sitting next to her listening to music on her telephone through headphones.
Although Linda has discovered close friends at the local mosque who have helped her navigate her new life, America does not yet feel like the excellent property.
“Half of the society is okay in welcoming us, the other half is not,” she said.
Muslim refugees greeted with resentment and fear
The Paris and California terror attacks unleashed a wave of anti-Muslim refugee sentiment in the United States.
Numerous Republican presidential candidates pounced on fears that Islamic extremists could infiltrate the United States to carry out attacks.
Frontrunner Donald Trump this week referred to as for the United States to bar all Muslims from entering the country until the nation’s leaders can “figure out what is going on”, whilst his rival Ben Carson likened Syrian refugees to “a rabid dog running around your neighbourhood”.
America’s peak Islamic physique, the Centre for American-Islamic Relations, stated attacks on Muslim’s have sharply enhanced in current weeks.
Earlier this week, their headquarters was evacuated soon after employees received white powder in the mail with a note reading “die a painful death, Muslims”.
Police had been investigating a number of anti-Muslim acts across the nation, which includes a pig’s head left at a mosque in Philadelphia and a bullet-riddled Koran left outside an Islamic clothing store in California.
The Home Safety Committee revealed this week that individuals tied to terrorist groups in Syria have attempted to enter the United States by way of its refugee plan.
US president Barack Obama stated last month that refugees who end up in the United States were the “most vetted, scrutinised, thoroughly investigated individuals that ever arrive on American shores”.
Mr Obama desires to settle ten,000 Syrian refugees by next September, but a number of states are attempting to block their entry.
Baltimore opens its door to Syrians fleeing persecution
Amid the backlash, one US city is opening its doors to those fleeing persecution in the Middle East.
The city of Baltimore’s population fell by a third since the 1950s and the mayor desires to boost it by welcoming a lot more migrants.
“They open enterprise, raise families and contribute to our neighborhood economy,” mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake mentioned she wants ten,000 families to migrate to the city in the next decade, and hopes many of them come from the war-torn Middle East.
“Regardless of what we’ve witnessed in Paris, my passionate assistance for welcoming new Americans to Baltimore remains unwavering,” she said.
“I hope that refugees from Syria and areas of conflict will appear to Baltimore as a potential place to contact property.”
The city has set up education, employment and economic help programs for refugees and they are currently producing success stories.
Two months ago, 58-year old Togolese refugee Adote Akwei used a special loan from the regional government to purchase a two-storey home in Baltimore’s suburbs.
“We have been here for the last two months, but until now it is a dream for me. I can’t think it,” he stated, sitting in his the neat, sparsely furnished lounge area.
“Sometimes if you see me rolling on the carpet here, [I] just like to feel like it is actual and it is accurate” he mentioned, looking down at the soft beige carpet beneath his chair.
Syrian refugee Linda worries what impact the anti-Muslim sentiment in the US will have on her daughters, but she hopes to remain in America and grow to be a contributing member of society.
She hopes other people like her will be offered the same chance.
“I am one particular mother out of millions of Syrian mothers who need to have aid, and those mothers want to guarantee their kids have a future too,” she stated.
Subjects: refugees, immigration, united-states, syrian-arab-republic