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Tallahassee Interfaith Coalition
In the fall of 2008, an interfaith coalition in Tallahassee, Florida, prepared to settle three of the 17 Uighurs at Guantánamo Bay prison. Our plan was provided to U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina, along with an offer by the largest community of Uighurs in the U.S., located in Fairfax County, Virginia, to take the other 14 men into their community. As a result, Judge Urbina ruled that unless a third country agreed to resettle the men safely, they must be brought to the United States. The Obama administration appealed the ruling, and a court of appeals agreed with teh administration that the executive and legislative branches, but not the judicial branch, are authorized to make determinations regarding immigration.
An interfaith coalition in Tallahassee, Florida, prepared the following plan to accept three Uyghur detainees from Guantánamo Bay in their community. This plan, along with another plan prepared by a Uyghur community in Fairfax County, Virginia, were instrumental in Judge Ricardo Urbina's October 2008 ruling that the 17 Uyghur detainees at Guantánamo must be released into the United States. The Obama administration won its appeal of the ruling.
The coalition shared its plan, organized into the following sections:
- The Steering Committee
- Non-monetary Components of the Day to Day Realities
- The Wider Support Group
The Uyghurs are an ethnic group of circa 20 million persons in Xinjiang Province in the extreme west of China. The fact that they are Muslims and have aspirations to independence from China have led to their being treated in a very hostile manner by the Chinese government.
October 1, 2008
We, the undersigned hold positions of leadership in faith communities of Tallahassee, Florida. We declare our support for an inter-faith effort to resettle three of the Uyghur prisoners currently held in federal custody at the facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Reverend Brant S. Copeland, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Tallahassee, gave the following sermon. We appreciate his permission to share it on this website.
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 7, 2008
Ever hear of Uyghurs? If the answer is “No,” don’t feel bad. Neither had I until a few weeks ago.