Columbia rallies around Muslim community after Trump’s executive order


Kat Sarafianos

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n Sunday, Jan. 29, hundreds of protesters gathered in Peace Park and walked to the Islamic Center of Central Missouri to show support for Columbia Muslims after President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Junior Donia Shaun, who is Muslim, found out about the protest through Snapchat. Many of her Muslim friends were at the rally and were posting about it on their Snapchat stories.
“When I went to the masjid [mosque] with my family to pray, I saw flowers all over the steps and I was so happy to see the support,” Shaun said. “To be honest, I didn’t expect it,  but seeing the flowers and cards just made me feel so welcomed.”
Senior Paul Kindling went to the protest briefly and found protesters still putting flowers on the mosques steps even towards the end. He thought the gesture showcased the collective acceptance and support within Columbia.
[quote]”My mom told me that it was going on and while at first I wasn’t too keen to stopping by, I’m glad that I did,” Kindling said.[/quote] “While it’s obvious that it was a protest against Trump’s travel ban, the people that were at the mosque while I was were almost all there strictly to show support for the Muslim community of Columbia.”
Columbia community member Aziza Rashid, who is Muslim and attends the mosque, attended the protest with her husband, waved American flags in support of Columbia Muslims and was overwhelmed by how many people showed up.
“I knew people would show up, but I didn’t think so many would show up and with so many flowers. I bumped into many people I’ve interacted with over the years through various activities and was touched by their support,” Rashid said. “People were chanting slogans and conversing and getting to know each other. It was a beautiful sight to behold — it was a picture of diversity and humanity at its best.”
Rashid thinks Columbia has always been a supporting community and hopes other towns and people can learn from Columbia’s displays of acceptance and diversity.
“After 9/11 my neighbor — with whom I did not have much interaction with — was the first to call saying not to worry and if I was afraid to go out, she would go for me. All the neighbors came out that day to specifically talk to us and show us their support. My kids’ teachers, school and friends were also very supportive. I felt very loved, wanted, and part of the community,” Rashid said. “It is very important to support each other through the good and the bad, through all times. We all go through the same struggles, have the same desires and fears. Many that come to America are coming from places where basic freedoms and  rights do not exist. We are more similar than dissimilar regardless of our backgrounds.”