The Latest: Texas church holds rally in support of mosque

AP News
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Posted: Dec 04, 2015 6:20 PM
The Latest: Texas church holds rally in support of mosque

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The latest on Texas suing the U.S. government in an attempt to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees (all times local):

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5:10 p.m.

Amid a legal battle that has delayed the arrival of Syrian refugees in Texas, a suburban Houston church held a rally in support of its neighbor — a mosque — as well as local Muslims.

More than 50 members from the Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church and others lined the road leading up to the Clear Lake Islamic Center as people went to Friday prayers.

The church and mosque are neighbors.

Church members held up signs that read "Love Thy Neighbor No Exceptions" and "We Support Our Muslim Neighbors."

Ibrahim Ezghair, associate imam at the Islamic center, called the rally a "really nice gesture."

The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, said "it's important to stand on the side of respect and love and tolerance."

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2:45 p.m.

Three Syrian refugee families have arrived in New York City after Texas sued to try to stop their resettlement there.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih BLAH'-zee-oh) said Friday New York "will welcome them with open arms" during what's expected to be a temporary stay, until the outcome of the Texas lawsuit.

Texas this week asked a federal court to block the arrival of Syrian refugees, citing concerns about whether new arrivals are sufficiently screened for security.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday withdrew a request for a temporary restraining order that sought to stop six Syrian refugees from coming to Dallas, but Paxton isn't entirely dropping the suit.

The Obama administration says that refugee vetting is thorough and that states lack legal authority to block refugee placement

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12:45 p.m.

Texas is dropping immediate efforts to block the arrival of Syrian refugees who are scheduled to resettle in the state next week.

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday withdrew a request for a temporary restraining order that sought to stop six Syrian refugees from coming to Dallas. The family could arrive as early as Monday and includes two children under the age of 6.

Paxton, however, isn't entirely dropping the lawsuit. He still wants assurances that the Obama administration will work with the state on refugee resettlement.

Another Syrian family, which includes four children under the age of 13, is scheduled to resettle in Houston on Monday.

Texas backed down after the Obama administration and the ACLU filed court papers challenging the lawsuit. Both said the state had no authority to stop the refugees from coming.