After being arrested today in front Speaker Paul Ryan’s office, Imam Omar Suleiman, a prominent Muslim leader from Dallas, Texas said,
“We cannot let any community suffer in isolation or we will all pay the price.”
After the lapse of the Trump-imposed deadline for Congress to take action regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a diverse group of Muslim faith leaders and activists — representing Black, Latino, Arab, South Asian, and other communities from across the U.S. — demonstrated in Washington, DC to demand that Congress pass a clean Dream Act and protect immigrant youth.
MPower Change, a grassroots Muslim organization with more than 230,000 members, brought the group together. They then joined a rally headlined by United We Dream and a number of immigrant justice and progressive groups, who marched together from the American History Museum to the Capitol Building. At the Capitol, the group participated in an act of civil disobedience at the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan. Several individuals from the group, including imams and MPower Change members, were arrested by Capitol Police after refusing to vacate Paul Ryan’s office until he met with them.
The Muslim faith leaders and MPower Change members called on Congress to move quickly to pass legislation to protect the 800,000 immigrant youth covered by DACA, hundreds of whom face the risk of detention and deportation for every day that Congress fails to act. Imams in the group spoke of the Islamic imperative to protect and provide shelter for migrants. In calling for the nation’s highest values while invoking Islamic scripture, they stood in sharp contrast to the Trump administration’s caricature of Muslims.
Imam Dawud Walid, a leading activist from Detroit, Michigan stated,
“Our faith tradition holds a special status for immigrants who’ve left their lands searching for a better way of life. We call upon Congress to pass legislation to protect DACA recipients under the previous administration from the undue burden of leaving their families and communities which they’ve positively contributed to.”
“Every day, the Trump administration works to divide us,” said MPower Change Executive Director Linda Sarsour. “But what are stronger are the things that unite us: our dreams and our faith. We’re here today to stand with our undocumented sisters and brothers — whether they’re Muslim or from any other background — and demand that Congress pass a clean Dream Act now.”
“When I was only eight years old, I came to the U.S. with my parents as we migrated from Colombia. I’m grateful to God to be standing here at the Capitol today and would like the same opportunity to be given to all Dreamers,”
said Imam Mujahid Fletcher of Houston, Texas, a prominent leader in the Latino Muslim community. “We can’t allow our immigrant youth to be punished and stripped away from the only lives they know — which is right here, in our families and communities, as Americans in America.”
“Deportation of the Dreamers is immoral. If you’re a moral person, you have to stand with the Dreamers,” said Imam Zaid Shakir of Oakland, California.