News from the Week of June 3rd

Muslims around the world continue to observe Ramadan, a month that involves reflection, prayer, and fasting. We are celebrating alongside our Muslim neighbors with our #29for29 initiative, in partnership with Mansoor Shams of, which utilizes the holy month to promote understanding and to break down long-held misconceptions about Islam. Check out Voice of America’s profile on the initiative, featuring Mansoor and VFAI’s founder Scott Cooper, here.

You can read more stories of veteran participants and their new friends here on our website,

On Wednesday, President Trump hosted an iftar dinner to honor the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, declaring it “a great month.” In a sign of the lingering tension between the President and the American Muslim community, some activists held a counter event outside the White House.

Thanks to the efforts of Veterans for American Ideals leaders and the International Rescue Committee, Colorado will allow refugees and SIV recipients to receive in-state tuition at public institutions. The law will go into effect in August and is expected to help 300 students this year—with even more benefiting in the future—as it is estimated that Colorado receives about 1,200 refugees each year.

Chris Buckley is a former member of the Ku Klux Klan and an Iraq War Veteran. Recently he accepted an invitation to meet with Heval Mohamed Kelli, a Kurdish refugee. This was a defining moment in the life of a man who spent years saying he despised Muslims and even taught his children to hate those of other ethnicities. After the much-needed meeting between the two, Buckley says he is willing "to do good to make up for all the bad."

An Atlanta-area manufacturer, Engent, has reported high employee retention since they started employing refugees. Rafi, an Afghan translator who worked with the United States military, is one of those workers. Engent’s CEO described him as "dependable and loyal and disciplined." A new report shows that American companies that hire refugees experience higher employee retention rates overall, and are able to recruit successfully from wider refugee networks.