WaPo — Diversify ‘White and Christian’ Wyoming with Afghans
In a piece titled “One state has never taken in refugees. Will it welcome Afghans?,” the Post explores a proposal by a local Episcopal church in Casper, Wyoming, to take in Afghans.
The Post interviewed a series of individuals for the piece, including those who said Afghan resettlement in Wyoming could “help with diversification” and break from their “conservative beliefs.”
The Post reported:
Whether that will happen, or even be possible, in this deeply conservative Western state remains in question. Wyoming, overwhelmingly White and Christian, has never formally welcomed refugees. Just a few years ago, debate over refugee resettlement spiraled into anti-Islam protests and a Koran-burning, alarming the state’s tiny Muslim population and dashing the hopes of its most prominent refugee advocate.
“I hope that with time people can look at what I’ve been able to overcome and how proud I am to call myself a Wyomingite. Refugees can be contributing members of our community and help with diversification.”
“Wyoming needs to do better, especially if they want human beings to move up there,” said Mohamed Salih, a Sudan native who for 33 years lived in Cheyenne, where he was a community college dean and frequently gave talks on Islam. He moved Denver more than a year ago. “I had friends, but in total, the community is really not welcoming to the other. And that is, I think, wedded in their conservative beliefs: We want to keep Wyoming as Wyoming — whatever that means.”