Iraqi refugees in bad Chicago neighborhood are trying to change their community

Apparently a crime-ridden neighborhood for 40 years, this section of Chicago is becoming increasingly diversified and refugees are trying to get it under control.

From the Chicago Tribune:

On a typical evening in Edgewater, dozens of young men linger along the sidewalks of Thorndale Avenue near the elevated train stop. Their presence is intimidating, say many in the community, and sometimes there is drug dealing and theft.

But on Monday evenings, the scene changes. Sidewalks fill with children playing board games and adults engaged in cards and chatting over grape leaves, courtesy of local Iraqi refugees.

The organized gatherings — called Neighborhood Nights — take aim at a more than 40-year history of gang activity along the business district in the 1100 block of West Thorndale Avenue.

I hope it works out for the refugees placed in this bad neighborhood.  At least this woman is taking the initiative and not just complaining about America not taking care of her.

The diversity of Edgewater, with about 64,000 residents, is obvious on just about any street: Iraqi women in head scarves, the colorful dress of African immigrants, Bosnian men smoking, young couples pushing strollers, and active senior citizens.

Together, Edgewater and Rogers Park are home to about 3,000 Iraqi refugees, according to Ahlam Mahmood, 44, of the Iraqi Mutual Aid Society. Mahmood said Neighborhood Nights allow the community an opportunity to meet their refugee neighbors.

“We are here to say to the neighborhood that you have Iraqi refugees,” said Mahmood, a humanitarian activist who fled to Chicago seven months ago with her two children. “We are in your neighborhood. Please welcome us.”

Comment worth noting: What’s up with Lutheran refugee agency in Phoenix?

From time to time, we are hearing directly from refugees themselves and we welcome those exchanges.   Surely I will be accused of “hating Lutherans” again for posting this, but last night we received this comment from someone who appears to be a refugee in Phoenix:

Luthren agancy in phoenix trating poeple with out respact and have not vist them for 3 monthes 

I am assuming our refugee reader is referring to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services affiliate in Phoenix, note here in this list of LIRS affiliates.  LIRS gives the agency’s address in Phoenix and in other places it is listed in Tucson.  The mission statement for Lutheran Social Services (or Ministry) of the Southwest is:

“Showing kindness, doing justice and serving those in need.”

I assume I have the right agency, it’s confusing because they seem to have two names, Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest and Lutheran Social Ministries of the Southwest.  I don’t know why these resettlement agencies (volags) change their names or use other names.   It makes me wonder if they are trying to confuse the public for some reason.

Anyway here is their Federal Form 990 (2007 is the most recent year they have submitted) and Wow! Check this out!    Their net income for that year was $9,231,260 and they received $8,403,189 from government grants—that is you, the taxpayer.  That is a whopping 91% of this “religious” organization’s income coming from taxpayer funds.   And, because they are a non-profit, you have no say over how they manage that money.  There is virtually zero oversight.

By the way, this is how you tell the “religious left” from the “religious right”—a truly conservative Christian organization will take no government funding.

I’m digressing.  So, as I asked at the outset, does anyone know what the heck is going on in Phoenix also the location of the 4 Liberian refugee boys raping their 8 year old neighbor?