“I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
Catching up with Hassan-Ali
We pick up the story of Hassan-Ali three years later. Unfortunately, Hassan-Ali’s immigration case hasn’t progressed much and he is still being supported by JRS UK. Many of our friends can spend long periods living in the situation that Hassan-Ali has described.For all our refugee friends at JRS, there has been a significant change in the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life just as much for them as it has all of us. Our refugee friends have been unable to visit the charities and centres which they relied on for support, whilst living through the same destitution and hostility they faced before.
Many, like JRS, have adapted their services, but as Hassan-Ali explains, there is something lost by not being able to meet in person: “[At JRS] normally the staff approach the asylum seekers, approach everyone and talk to them or sit and eat with them…. the staff will go to them to find out how they are keeping and find out about them as they come to me, too. And then so now during COVID-19, we are missing this. We’re missing this gathering”.
The mission and values of JRS are rooted in our Christian identity. Today’s passage from Matthew’s Gospel is one often reflected on by JRS volunteers and staff, and by the many people who fight for social justice. The welcome and hospitality Hassan-Ali describes at JRS is a result of trying to see Christ in each of our refugee friends and recognising the innate dignity of each and every person.
When have you seen the face of Christ in another, particularly in a person society has pushed to its margins?
How might seeking Christ in everyone you encounter change the way you treat others?
Last year, JRS UK released ‘Detained and Dehumanised’ a report into immigration detention rooted in the experience of our refugee friends who had been detained. Throughout it shows clearly the ways in which indefinite detention strips dignity and affects the health of those people who have endured it. By bringing these experiences to late, we seek to challenge the use of immigration detention and ask you to join your voice with ours.
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