Midstaters ready to welcome Afghan refugees with open arms


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — America’s evacuation of Afghanistan is over, but many refugees are still making their way to their new homes in the U.S. Some in the Midstate are preparing to welcome them with open arms.

No one seems to know exactly when or how many Afghan refugees might come to the Midstate. On Monday at least 800 evacuees arrived at the Philadelphia International Airport.

Dr. Mubashir Mumtaz is president of the Harrisburg chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. His organization is one of the local groups preparing to help the refugees that may resettle in South Central Pennsylvania.

“Obviously as an American, I want to welcome them with open arms,” Mumtaz said. “When you come to this country there’s a lot of help and support you need. And when I mean help, it’s not just only material help but also guidance.”

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He says they may need translators, legal help, and other social services.

Kabir Amani owns Eagle Martial Arts in Mechanicsburg and immigrated from Afghanistan years ago. He also still has a lot of family and friends in the country, so he understands what the refugees are facing.

“These people are terrified of what’s happening. They want a normal life, and that’s why they got out. Obviously, they’re going to have a better life over here. They’re going to have safety that they’re looking for,” Amani said.

Some of his family friends were just able to escape Afghanistan and are trying to make their way to Mechanicsburg now.

“Thankfully they are out of Afghanistan. They were able to get a flight over to Qatar. So they’re safe now thankfully,” Amani said.

It’s families like those that Dr. Mumtaz and his organization are ready to help make a home in the area.

“We are here to help and support in whatever way. Whether it’s a little help we can provide or more,” Mumtaz said.

Even as there is hope for those coming to the U.S., there is sadness for those left behind.

Many of Amani’s family members weren’t able to evacuate and are now stuck in a home they don’t recognize.

“The whole situation is a mess. For me, I feel very upset about it, very sad of what’s happening,” Amani said. “To see all of this is definitely devastating. Not only myself, my whole family, everybody feels it.”

Dr. Mumtaz says if you want to help the best way you can do it is to reach out to your local charities and community organizations to let them know.

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