Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), gathering with Attorney General Mark Herring and a battery of interfaith leaders and supporters in the prayer hall at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Sterling on Friday, said “we are here to send a message to President Trump: That we will not stand by for his unlawful, constitutional, morally repugnant executive order.”
In the wake of Trump’s order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and indefinitely barring entry by Syrian refugees, protests erupted at Dulles Airport and other airports around the world, and ADAMS, one of the country’s largest mosques, joined with an array of religious and interfaith leaders decrying the order.
During today’s Friday prayers, supporters lined up by the entrance to ADAMS holding signs and shaking hands with congregants. ADAMS faithful came out to share pizza with the supporters crowded outside.
“At a time when our youth are asking, ‘why me? Why do they hate me?’ It’s displays like this, it’s displays like what’s happening outside the center today, it’s displays across … every other airport you can think of, that just goes to show that we are united, we are the majority, we are people of all faiths,” said Sajjad Ahmad, a member of the ADAMS board of trustees and former principal of the youth school there. He and other faith and community leaders joined McAuliffe and Herring for a round table meeting at ADAMS before addressing congregants in the prayer hall.
“I think we’re living at a time where the core ideas of what it means to be an American are being called into question, and we know the answer to that question already, because we’re sitting right here, that American is not an ethnicity.” said Rabbi Michael Holzman of the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation. “American is an idea that we all hold so dearly in our hearts, and it’s an idea that unites all of us regardless of where we come from.”
Anab Ali is a native Somalian who emigrated to the United States from Dubai, subsequently working as a Veterans Administration nurse and starting a company that she says employs about 50 people in Ashburn. She has three daughters in college in the U.S. now. Ali said she left a good job in Dubai to come to America.
“It’s just something you can’t explain,” Ali said. “You have to live it. You just want to go and see that land of the unknown.”
She said until the sudden immigration ban, she had never felt like an outsider in the US. She said her nephew and sister-in-law have been unable to join her in the United States.
“Our family is really devastated, because the dream that I had 30 years ago, these two young people also had it,” Ali said. “And now I’m not giving up hope, because all of you are here.”
Herring came to ADAMS from a hearing in federal district court where Judge Leonie M. Brinkema allowed Virginia’s challenge to the ban to move forward to a hearing next Friday, where the state will argue for a preliminary injunction suspending the ban.
“Even the judge commented from the bench that she has seen how it has really touched America, and that’s because it impacts some of the most cherished values that we as Americans hold dear,” Herring said at ADAMS.
Later Friday evening, a federal judge in Seattle granted a nationwide temporary restraining order against the travel ban at the request of Washington State and Minnesota.
Herring and McAuliffe were fiery in their denouncement of the order in the ADAMS prayer hall.
“236 years ago, we beat the British at Yorktown and we sent them back because we would not allow the tyranny of a king to dictate our terms to us,” McAuliffe said. “And 236 years later, folks, we’re not going back to those days.”
“There is no question the immigration ban is a government order that was written because of animus toward Muslims because of their faith,” Herring said. “That is unlawful, unconstitutional, and un-American.”