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Seattle-area Muslims gather to thank Gov. Inslee for state’s fight over travel ban


Saturday February 11, 2017
By Jessica Lee

Before a welcoming crowd at Tukwila’s Abu-Bakr Islamic Center, the governor touted the state’s role in halting the controversial ban


Packed into a classroom, members of the Abu-Bakr Islamic Center in Tukwila applaud Gov. Jay Inslee’s remarks about immigration on Friday. Inslee’s visit came one day after a three-judge federal appeals panel unanimously refused to reinstate President Trump’s travel ban. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)


As President Trump vowed more legal action to reinstate his targeted travel ban, Gov. Jay Inslee praised the state’s role in halting the policy in a visit at Tukwila’s Abu-Bakr Islamic Center on Friday afternoon, where dozens of Muslims gathered to thank him for his support.

With cheers and applause, the crowd packed a classroom for the governor’s roughly 15-minute speech in which he applauded Washington’s response to Trump’s executive order barring entry into the U.S. for citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations.

“In the last few days, we’ve seen the operation of American democracy to protect all religions, all faiths, all people in the state of Washington,” he told the crowd. “This has been a personal joy for me. It’s been a painful thing for many of your brothers and sisters, who have gone through very difficult days” because of the travel ban.

Inslee’s visit came one day after a three-judge federal appeals panel on Thursday unanimously refused to reinstate the ban and the president vowed to keep fighting for the traveling restrictions in court.

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The judges’ ruling means that refugees and people from the seven nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — can continue entering the country for now. The administration has several options on how to proceed.

The decision from the federal appeals panel came after District Judge James Robart in Seattle temporarily blocked the ban nationwide, at the urging of Washington state. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the lawsuit, which was joined by the state of Minnesota.

On Friday, the governor reiterated his message of denouncing the ban as a failed approach to stop terrorism.

“We need the Muslim community, internationally, to be allies with us, to defeat ISIS, to defeat terrorism,” he said. “We need that alliance.”

The Washington Post has described Washington state as the “epicenter of resistance to Trump’s agenda.”

Among the crowd of fans Friday was Aisha and her two children, ages 5 and 9. (She declined to give her last name.) Of the governor, she said, “He knows that this community supports him. He stands for what we stand for.”

Abdirisak Ahmed, the center’s director, said the same in a brief speech, praising the governor as a “champion.” The classroom rang out with applause in response.

Also in the crowd was Ubah Warsame, 40, of Tukwila. She said the travel restrictions have touched nearly everyone in the community.

“The United States is the place of peace and harmony, and freedom of religion, and freedom of speech — and all of that has been shattered for a lot of community members,” she said.

And the stories, for her, resonate personally. A health coach at Swedish Medical Center and a medical interpreter, she immigrated to the U.S. 23 years ago from a refugee camp.

“If he (Trump) came 23 years ago, I was that little girl who is sitting there,” unable to travel to the U.S., she said. “It’s personal.”


Gov. Jay Inslee, center, is welcomed to the Abu-Bakr Islamic Center by Ahmed Nur, the imam of the center. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

Material from The Associated Press and New York Times was used in this report. Jessica Lee: 206-464-2532 or [email protected]



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