Davis stands with Muslim residents

MORGAN TIEU / AGGIE

Davis residents show solidarity in wake of travel ban, vandalism

On his seventh day in office, when President Trump signed his thirteenth executive order which imposes an immigration ban on seven predominantly Muslim nations, Muslims and non-Muslims alike across the U.S. cried out against the order.

Of the 37 percent of Davis residents that consider themselves religious, roughly 2.3 percent of permanent residents are of the Islamic faith, in addition to the large portion of Muslim students attending UC Davis. As a result of the diversity at UC Davis beyond the considerable Muslim population, a long-standing tradition of activism on campus and around the community has developed. The recent election has already had an effect on students and residents of Davis, who seem to have readied themselves for the new administration’s list of policies by vocalizing possible concerns that may arise in the next four years.

In light of the Executive Order barring residents of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, Davis has responded with solidarity which speaks volumes.  

“I have noticed an outpour of support for the Muslim community,” said Noreen Mansuri, a third-year neurology, physiology and behavior major and a Muslim student and activist.

In the wake of a hate crime at the Islamic Center of Davis, hundreds of members of the Davis community gathered in Central Park to show their support of the Muslim community. Signs and banners have been hung in front of the Islamic Center, covered in signatures from numerous members of the community and reading “we support you.”

“I do not think there is as much detachment as there has been before,” Mansuri said. “There is no longer this predominating attitude that, ‘well, it does not directly affect me, so I do not really have an opinion’.”

Almost $20,000 was donated to the Islamic Center via an online Kickstarter to help compensate for broken windows, destroyed bicycles and door handles wrapped in raw bacon. Several organizations have offered rewards of over $1,000 in return for the identity of the vandal.

Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter released a joint statement responding to the incident with Mayor Robb Davis and Student Affairs Vice Chancellor Adela de la Torre which stated, “UC Davis and the City of Davis are home to people of the Muslim faith from around the world. Each one enriches our lives and brings new perspectives to our community. We will continue our work to support and protect them and to stand against those seeking to sow fear.”

Although support for the Muslim community continues, there is still no shortage of negativity, according to Mansuri.

“There is still a lot of hateful sentiment,” Mansuri said. “This weekend I received an alert that a box of pork tenderloins was left outside of an apartment known to be home to Muslim students.”

On Feb. 3, a federal judge issued a suspension on the order after the Attorney General in Washington state challenged the order. A request to reinstate the travel ban was blocked twice within a week afterward in San Francisco and Washington State. President Trump responded in a series of tweets and Facebook statements criticizing the appeals.

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned,” Trump tweeted, following the initial freeze of the travel ban.

On Feb. 10, the president was also quoted saying that he plans to file a new executive order with “very little changes.”

Despite the actions taken by the President, students and residents urge each other to remain informed and ready to support those affected by new developments. Mansuri urges nonmuslims to reach out to their muslim friends in this time of need.

“After you reach out, get involved,” Mansuri said. “Attend events, talks, panels, protests, and educate yourself. There is no shortage of people to talk to. Do not be shy. Be open minded and open hearted.”
Written by: Caitlyn Sampley — city@theaggie.org