LA Daily News: LA activists unite with the Muslim community against refugee ban

A rally on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 near the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles included representatives of various groups in a show of solidarity against President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. 

By Elizabeth Chou, Los Angeles Daily News

POSTED: 02/03/17, 5:54 PM PST | UPDATED: 2 DAYS AGO


On a bustling retail strip in Koreatown, a fellowship of Los Angeles activists declared their solidarity Friday with the Muslim community, which has suffered the brunt of Trump administration policies that ban refugees and immigrants from seven countries where the majority of the population follow the Islamic faith.

The rally near the Islamic Center of Southern California included representatives of groups known for advocating for their respective communities – whether it be Hispanic, Jewish, Bangladeshi, Korean or other affinities – but have long supported each other behind the scenes.

This was one of more than two dozen gatherings taking place throughout the country in which advocacy groups of many stripes, and not just from the Muslim community, can say they will also work to defeat Trump’s immigration policies, said Polo Morales, political director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

“During this time of these executive orders that are completely unconstitutional, we feel that we need to stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors and friends to make sure that they understand that they are not alone and that we are all part of the same community,” Morales said.

Koreatown resident Yong Ho Kim said he joined the rally to show his support for Muslim immigrants.

Trump’s executive order is “an attack on immigrants” that will impact “all of the communities,” the 34-year-old said, adding that the policies need to be rescinded “if people in the United States believe that the Constitution is something that you need to follow through on, and is part of our core values.”

Kim works at the Korean Resource Center, which he explained has its “roots in the refugee community.” The founder of the organization fled South Korea due to political persecution, and was granted asylum in the United States, he said.

Also standing among the crowd was 31-year-old Jarin Islam, who wore a hijab woven into the pattern of the American flag. The Bangladeshi-American said people may be pleasantly surprised if they would only lower their defenses when meeting someone of a different ethnic background.

“At the end of the day, you’re just like every other person in this world, trying to live their life, go to work and send their kids to school,” she said. “It’s the fear of inconvenience that you don’t want to take that step to meet someone. It’s easy to hate. It’s hard to welcome.”