Wednesday June 27, 2018
Representatives of Minnesota’s Muslim community gathered Tuesday to condemn the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
The ban would affect travel from several mostly Muslim countries.
Members of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other community groups called for increased public activism in response to the ruling.
Mustafa Diriye of St. Paul joined CAIR-MN executive director Jaylani Hussein and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison at a Tuesday morning news conference protesting the ruling.
A community organizer, Diriye worries for a cousin and her daughter in a refugee camp on the border of Ethiopia and Somalia. They are effectively trapped there now, Diriye said.
Diriye’s cousin has a life-threatening heart defect, and her daughter suffered a stroke as a result of her own heart defect. Without proper medical attention or the ability to travel freely, Diriye said they may die in the camp.
On Tuesday evening, more than 200 demonstrators rallied in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Minneapolis to protest the ruling, chanting, “Say it loud; say it clear. Muslims are welcome here!” and “When Muslims are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!”
Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar, whose native Somalia is one of the seven countries affected by the ban, was one of a handful of local politicians and activists to address the crowd before it left the courthouse plaza to march through the city’s streets.
“When people make these decisions … they forget the human lives it touches,” Omar said. “They forget the real people that are going to be impacted by it.”
Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress and a Minnesota attorney general candidate, also spoke at the rally, telling the crowd, “Today, we are all Muslims.”
“Don’t let anybody tell you this is not a Muslim ban,” Ellison said. “I call this a Muslim ban because Donald Trump called it a Muslim ban. … This is the way democratic societies are pushed into becoming totalitarian societies.”
The crowd at the hour-long rally also included members of Muslim, Jewish and Christian clergy.
Other Minnesota politicians were quick to respond in statements issued earlier Tuesday. State Sen. Karin Housley, a Republican running for Tina Smith’s U.S. Senate seat, supports the ruling as a national security measure.
“At this critical juncture in our nation’s history, adherence to our Constitution has never been more important; our freedoms, our safety, and our security as a nation depends on it,” she said in a statement.
Smith, a Democrat, condemned the decision, saying it contradicts historic American values.
“This is not who we have been, and it’s not who we should be. We must keep working to help all people demand respect, freedom and dignity in the same spirit on which our country was founded,” she said in a statement.