When brothers, Yazan and Nabil Al-Salkini fled Syria’s raging civil war with their family and settled in Seattle two months ago, they never expected to feel so comfortable in their new lives.
To give back to the city that has embraced them, the brothers began working with the homeless community, serving up meals, volunteering and handing out fresh water to the city’s own displaced population.
— KUOW Public Radio (@KUOW) November 23, 2015
The brothers are aiming to break down cultural barriers that have marred the refugee population recently following a number of politicians and community members speaking out against the resettlement of Syrian refugees on American soil.
“Daesh does not represent Islam,” Al-Salkini told the Seattle Times via a translator. “We want people to understand that there is a huge difference.”
The community that the brothers so selflessly look after also share this sentiment.
“It is a shame our politicians are condemning a whole group of people for the acts of a few crazy ones,” Ken Peterson, 58, told the Seattle Times. “They don’t have to organize this event, and we (the homeless) really appreciate things like this.”
In the same vein, Alex Assali, a Syrian man who lives in Berlin was recently photographed serving food to the city’s homeless as a way to “give something back to German people.” The photo was shared to Imgur where it received 2.8 million views.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Assali told media that he had been working with the city’s homeless since August 2015.
Assali was forced to flee Damascus in 2007 after publicly speaking out against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. After fleeing the country without a passport, he spent the next few years in Libya, where he began helping Syrian refugees, before eventually arriving in Germany in September 2014.
This photo was taken at the city’s Alexanderplatz station and shared on Facebook by Assali’s friend, Tabea Bü, on Nov. 22.