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Beyond Borders: North Carolina Activist Sijal Nasralla Fights For Refugee Rights

Sijal Nasralla grew up hearing stories about the bucolic hills his father used to roam as a shepherd in Palestine. He also learned early on about efforts his family members had made to preserve access to land they had lived on for hundreds of years.

As a U.S.-born member of his majority-refugee family, Nasralla was relatively sheltered from the hardships of his family’s fight for land rights. But on a trip to visit relatives in refugee camps in the West Bank, he was faced with the reality of the rigid physical borders that prevented his family from being united.

Nasralla returned to the U.S. with a renewed drive to fight for the rights of refugees. He is now a community activist who has worked in refugee resettlement and advocated for the rights of immigrants living in church sanctuaries in North Carolina. Nasralla also channels his passion for change into two North Carolina-based bands: “The Muslims” and “Dunams.”

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Nasralla about his music, activism, and his continued mission to ensure refugees have the right to freedom from discrimination and the right to eventually return home. 

Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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