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December 13, 2014

Members of U.S. Faith Community Praise Uruguay for “Welcoming the Stranger”

In response to the six Guantanamo detainees who were resettled in Uruguay today, members of the U.S. faith community representing three perspectives released the following statements.

Matt Hawthorne, Policy Director for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, said, “It is morally wrong to imprison people without charge or trial, something the U.S. has been doing at Guantanamo for more than a decade. Uruguay has done something noble today by accepting six people into its country and freeing them from seemingly permanent imprisonment without trial. The U.S. could stand to learn something from Uruguay.”

Stacy Martin, Director for Policy and Advocacy at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, added, “In taking seriously the moral imperative to welcome the stranger—something that the U.S. has been unwilling to do with Guantanamo detainees who pose no threat to national security nor to the communities to which they would be resettled—the Uruguayan government has displayed leadership and is a positive example to the U.S. and the rest of the international community.

“Uruguay’s actions are to be commended. Lutherans, whose collective commitment to welcoming the stranger is evident in both our teaching and practice, are especially grateful to the Uruguayan government for opening its doors to these individuals.”

Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director for the Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances of the Islamic Society of North America, said “Uruguay has set an example of compassion and humanitarian resolve by giving shelter to these six prisoners. It shows how this small country is big on human kindness and how it has extended a hand of mercy and generosity to give a second chance to these stateless men.

“We congratulate Uruguay for providing a shining model for rebuilding trust and confidence toward a new millennium of dialogue and understanding. We can build hope and optimism on these acts of kindness across the world.”

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