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First shelter for Muslim refugees opens in Tijuana, Mexico

The Latina Muslim Foundation opened a mosque and a refugee empowerment center. The medium is supposed to take care of 150 refugees at a time.

TIJUANA, Baja California — With the growing number of Muslim migrants in Tijuana, advocates raised money for a refugee shelter that finally opened on Saturday.

With the help of the Latina Muslim Foundation, which is the main refuge for Muslim refugees in Mexico. Although Tijuana has several mosques across the city, this is a residential shelter that also includes a place of prayer.

It is intended to accommodate 150 migrants and so they can stay in the shelter for up to three months.

Living in a predominantly Catholic nation where you don’t know the world or the language can be a scary time for any Muslim refugee residing in a migrant shelter in Tijuana.

“The culture is different and the language is very different, so everything is really difficult,” Salarzai said.

21 year old Ilyas Salarzai from Afghanistan copes with this, he is a Muslim and prays 5 times a day.

Salarzai says Mexico has been supportive, but being a Muslim there can usually make it impossible for him to observe Islam.

He says it’s because there are migrants who don’t care to understand his tradition and faith, which makes him feel unsafe to perform his daily prayers.

With the lack of resources and assistance for Muslim households, the Latina Muslim Foundation opened a mosque and a refugee empowerment center.

It is in a warehouse about ten minutes from the border and converted into a two-storey shelter with workplaces for social workers and justice professionals, a kitchen, toilets, a house for the medical house and a prayer room filled with copies of the Koran.

This shelter will provide a place of hope while providing shelter and authorized assistance.

“It came with a lot of challenges, being a Muslim and a Latina in Tijuana trying to build a Muslim shelter was very difficult,” said Sonia Garcia, president of the Latina Muslim Foundation.

Each year, the number of Muslim refugees residing in Tijuana grows. Some of them live here by selection and others have fled their country or are deportees seeking asylum.

That’s why this weekend, the 8,000 square foot shelter opened its doors and housed 30 migrants from Pakistan, Kenya, Afghanistan and different countries.

“It is a Muslim refuge, but everyone is welcome to be in this refuge. All who seek shelter are welcome. Salarzai said.

WATCH RELATED: Volunteers organize an “Assistance Space” inside Tijuana International Airport to help Ukrainian refugees (April 2022).


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