Ministers’ Conference with Muslims and others protest U.S. travel ban
Photo by Timothy Ramsey
BY TIMOTHY RAMSEY
The travel ban imposed by the Trump Administration barring people from seven predominately Muslim nations access to the United States has been receiving serious opposition from citizens all across the country.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, in a unanimous ruling, upheld a temporary restraining order issued in Seattle, preventing the administration from implementing the travel ban.
The Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity (MCWSV) held a press conference in collaboration with the Community Mosque of Winston-Salem and the local chapter of the NAACP to air their grievances with the travel ban.
The press conference was held at the Community Mosque of Winston-Salem last Tuesday to show solidarity with the Muslim community. The ecumenical event brought together hundreds of people of different faiths for a common theme.
The Rev. Alvin Carlisle, president of the local branch of the NAACP, said the idea came about as he and Bishop Todd Fulton were having a conversation about the travel ban. He says after some conversing back and forth, they reached out to Rabbi Mark Cohn of Temple Emmanuel and the idea grew from there.
“Whenever there is division, we all lose, so when we are able to come together to support what’s right, it’s always better for our community,” Carlisle said. “I think the best way for us to resist Trump and some of the things he has set forth is to stand together.”
Bishop Todd Fulton, head of the social justice committee of the MCWSV, says it’s wrong not to stand up for your neighbors.
“This is where we are, when they start coming for Muslim brothers, after they are done, they will come for the African-Americans,” he said. “So we have to all ban together and say we are not going to let it happen to the least of us.”
“This type of event is powerful because from the Trump administration we will see more fear mongering and more xenophobia, so we will keep coming out and organizing.”
Rabbi Mark Cohn said, “The benefit of coming together is that the people here are already like-minded. We already agree but it gives us the strength to see we are not alone. The energy in this room is so strong and beautiful, I think that really inspires us to go out and take action and do more.”
Cohn continued by saying that the travel ban has ironically woken a lot of people up to the injustices being committed against the Muslim religion. He says the ban brought many people together.
Imam Khalid Griggs of the Community Mosque of Winston-Salem said it’s very important to see Muslims in their “natural habitat” at the mosque. He says it helps break the anxiety and stereotypes some people have about entering into a Muslim space.
“It allows people to see that we are just people just like anyone else,” Griggs said. “I think it was an excellent event and a great start for those who have never had an encounter with the Muslim community. It starts a dialogue and from this dialogue we will be able to move forward and address some of the issues that are coming upon us.”
“I think the ban is having the opposite impact this administration desired. The problem is I’m really doubtful demonstrations, no matter how massive they are, will actually affect this administration because I don’t think they really care. It’s almost like whatever they can force down somebody’s throat, this is what they intend to do.”