UConn students among attendees at pro-Syrian refugee rally in Hartford

Students are seen at a Syrian refugee rally Hartford, Connecticut on Nov. 28, 2015. (Courtesy)

A Syrian refugee rally was held in Hartford on Nov. 28 to demonstrate support for Connecticut’s decision to continue welcoming refugees. Some members of the University of Connecticut’s Muslim Student Association were in attendance.

“I feel like a lot of people, they readily deny people the right to come here but they don’t understand who exactly these people are and why they really need to come here,” said Shaheer Hassan, president of the Muslim Student Association. “They don’t really understand the struggle of the Syrian people.”

Nearly 250 people gathered in the capitol, according to the Hartford Courant.

Although Hassan himself was not available for the rally, many members of UConn’s Muslim Student Association attended.

“It was a really good turnout, which is really encouraging that there are people out there that are standing up for what they believe is right and showing people that you can make a difference by standing up,” Hassan said.

The rally gathered people in support of welcoming refugees into the state. Chris George executive director of New Haven's Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) also offered a few words.

“I described the rigorous screening process that refugees go through before they are selected to come to the United States. It is the most rigorous in the world,” George said. “I also described the resettlement process which is probably the most demanding in the world.”

The vetting process is an issue that MSA are trying to inform more people about. Hassan said that there are a lot of assumptions that the vetting process is too lenient or that refugees pose potential threats to the nation.

“These people are really struggling, they have no where to return to. They are running away from the same threat we are afraid of in the US .The point of these rallies is essentially to open peoples’ eyes. Imagine yourself in that person’s shoes and no one is letting you in,” said Hassan.

As college students, Hassan said contacting governors from other states and letting them know that Connecticut has a strong stance on accepting Syrian refugees is the next step in showing support.


Brenna Kelly is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at brenna.kelly@uconn.edu.