Senators Tom Kaine (D-VA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) spoke to Alhurra’s Congressional Correspondent Rana Abtar about the debate regarding Syrian refugees in the United States. In separate interviews both Senators, who are members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke about the strenuous vetting process for all refugees including Syrians. Sen. Kaine said, “we’ve actually added more steps to the process if they are a refugee from Syria.” While Sen. Menendez pointed out that most of the Syrian refugees are women, children and families, stating, “these are families, fleeing persecution, going through the most stringent background check.”

Alhurra talks to lawmakers on persecution of Mideast religious minorities

During a three-day summit on the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians and minorities organized by the group In Defense Of Christians (IDC), Alhurra’s Congressional Correspondent Rana Abtar conducted interviews with several members of Congress, addressing the plight of Christians, Yazidis and others in Iraq and Syria. In the interviews, the lawmakers addressed the urgency to act to ensure the safety of Christians in the Middle East and to respond to the region’s daunting refugee crisis. The following are excerpts from the interviews:

VOA journalist tells story of Kurdish Syrians through art

Image by Bill Workinger

Voice of America Kurdish Service multimedia journalist Lukman Ahmad broadcasts to Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran each week, but he is also known across VOA as a talented artist. Lukman, who came to the United States as a refugee from Syria in 2010, joined VOA in March 2014 and pursues his artistic passions in his free time.