Angelina Jolie addresses refugee crisis at interfaith Iftar dinner in Washington, D.C.
Monday was World Refugee Day. The interfaith Iftar reception held at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center, Sterling, Virginia, to mark the day, saw Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, and United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, addressing issues such as the refugee crisis, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. Jolie is also the Special Envoy for the Office of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).
Speaking at the event, Jolie said that there are around 65 million people in the world today who are displaced by the refugee problem. The magnitude of the refugee crisis that exists in today's world makes it very difficult to achieve security and peace in the world. Ignoring the crisis is irresponsible and naive. Focusing solely on aid and resettlement is not going to solve the problem in the long run. A new approach is required to deal with the crisis, an approach that would bring returns, stability, and solutions.
Jolie further said that tagging someone guilty on the basis of religion is wrong. The American society, today, is seeing a rise in xenophobia and intolerance. Real strength lies in mastering and channeling emotions to pursue policies that help to reduce the threats to the society, not inflame them. America needs leadership. America needs solutions. Her focus is in finding those solutions. All the human beings are born equal, and all are entitled to equal rights.
Iftar is the meal served at sunset during the month of Ramadan. Muslims end their day-long fast with Iftar. The Iftar reception at the ADAMS center also saw participation from refugee children and people from other faith.
Kerry, who praised Jolie for her dedication to the refugee crisis, during the event, said that, for her, it is not just a passing fancy. It is a lifetime commitment.
Kerry opened his speech by greeting the Muslims in their traditional way, by saying 'Assalamu Alaikum', which means peace be upon you. He said that refugees are not a threat to the American society. Even if America welcomes all the refugees in the world, the country would still be only the 22nd most populated place on earth.
Addressing the rising number of Islamophobic incidents in the country, Kerry said that hating Muslims would only serve the interests of terrorist groups. There is a tendency to showcase that there is a war going on between the Unites States and Islam. This is not true. America is one country where Muslims can live freely.