There’s no hate here, just love — that was the message at three South Florida mosques Friday, when hundreds of people across all faiths protested President Donald Trump’s order temporarily suspending immigration from seven predominately Muslim nations.
On Jan. 27, Trump signed an executive order banning citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya Somalia and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days. Trump’s order also suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions program for all nations for 120 days, a move that affects 70,000 people from around the world. The order also indefinitely prohibits Syrian refugees from entering the United States.
Trump’s order prompted protests at several major airports across the country last weekend, including Miami’s. The protests continued Friday at three area mosques; Friday is the day of prayer for Muslims.
“We do not need bans and walls; we need love and bridges,” said Naveed Anjum, chairman of the board at the Islamic School of Miami. “Mr. president, please do not try to take this country back to the Stone Age.”
Dianne Hudder, a minister at Christ Congregational Church in Palmetto Bay, brought tears to the crowd when she talked about her brother. Her husband, Steven Hudder, is the longtime pastor at the church.
“My brother died in the North Tower on Sept. 11,” Dianne Hudder said. “He died in the hands of terrorists, not in the hands of Muslims. I’m here to support my brothers and sisters in Islam. I have always found such hospitality here and such care here. I just want other faiths to know that we are all basically the same.”
When Rachelle Nelson, the cantor at Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest, took to the podium, she told the crowds about her grandparents fleeing the Cossacks in Russia and emigrating to Cuba in the early 1900s. Her parents were born in Cuba; they migrated to South Florida years later.
“This is all very painful for me,” Nelson said. “Never did I think that in my wonderful lifetime that I would know injustice the way I know it right now.”
Ibrahim Alkhaldi, 11, said he can relate: “My dad is from Syria and my mom is Colombian. I want to live here because it’s a great country, because we have freedom. But we are losing our freedom slowly. It makes me very sad.’’
State Rep. Robert Asencio, D-District 118, reminded people of the county’s immigrant roots.
“This is a country that welcomes the stranger and protects everyone and sees each other as brothers and sisters,’’ he said.
Before the rally, Anjum, the Islamic School chairman, talked about living among people of different faiths.
“We are all about compassion, passion, love and peace. This is the message of Islam — that we all are the same,” Anjum said. “If we would understand that, we would have no problem in this world.”