People escaping war in Syria become largest refugee group for Brazil

Insight

The steady exodus of refugees from Syria to neighboring countries is well documented, but recently Syrians escaping war have been working to build a new life in Latin America.
Last year Brazil accepted more than two thousand refugees, many from Syria.

Syrians have become the largest refugee group in Brazil, surpassing immigrants from Angola and nearby Colombia.
Syrian engineer Talal Al Tanawi took in the new experience of his all important Friday prayer, which was far from routine as he experienced it across the globe at a mosque in Brazil.

People escaping war in Syria become largest refugee group for Brazil

The steady exodus of refugees from Syria to neighboring countries is well documented, but recently Syrians escaping war have been working to build a new life in Latin America. Last year Brazil accepted more than two thousand refugees, many from Syria.

“It’s very different between here and Syria, in everything: culture, people, food, in everything,” Al Tanawi said. “Of course, the mosque is the same. In the Arab world or the Muslim world, it’s the same. But outside the mosque, it’s different.” Al Tanawi landed a job through networking and with the help of an engineering degree. His timing to find a new home was fortunate because Brazil needed skilled workers.

Al Tanawi came with his family a little more than a year ago as Brazil opened up its borders to Syrians seeking refuge from violence.

Brazil is already home to about 10 million Arabs, the largest Arab population outside of the Middle East. That’s one reason so many Syrians are looking to Brazil as an escape from the civil war raging in their homeland.

Brazil granted refugee status to a record number of more than 2,300 people in 2014, over half were Syrian.

“The number of refugees is growing because the war is still going. So every week we have Syrians that come to us for help to seek refuge,” Ana Claudia Madaleno of Institute for Refugee Integration, Adus said. “Some of them contact mosques here while they are still in Syria to inquire about living conditions, jobs.”

CCTV America’s Paulo Cabral contributed to this story from Sao Paulo.<\em>


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