Global citizens and universal aliensOur citizenship is in heaven
by Anita Coleman
One planet. 57.3 million miles of surface land. 7.4 billion people. 59.5 million refugees and displaced peoples, of whom 51 percent are under the age of 18.
Sheikh Yassir Fazaga was once one of those refugees. Forced to flee his home in Eritrea at the age of 15, today, he is a well-respected Muslim leader and a mental health counselor at Access California Services. AccessCal is a non-sectarian organization that provides human services to local Arab and Muslim Americans, immigrants, and refugees. Speaking about the plight of refugees, he has said (I will paraphrase):
Stories like mine are unusual. Many people in refugee camps are born there, and they die there. They become parents in the camp and grandparents too. The people who are able to leave the camps and re-integrate with mainstream society, often in a new country, as immigrants, asylum seekers, and citizens are far too few. To solve the refugee and other problems of the world our concern must be global, and our influence, local.
Fazaga’s story and words resonate with my own beliefs about how faith, my identity as an American citizen, and allegiance to Jesus intersect.