Religious, community leaders denounce Trump immigration executive order

Photo by Zeinab Najm Dearborn Heights Mayor Daniel Paletko (left) and Littlefield Presbyterian Church Pastor the Rev. Fran Hayes watch as Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. denounces the executive order signed by President Donald Trump’s immigrant and refugee travel moratorium executive order alongside Islamic House of Wisdom Imam Mohammad Elahi during a press conference Feb. 1.

Photo by Zeinab Najm
Dearborn Heights Mayor Daniel Paletko (left) and Littlefield Presbyterian Church Pastor the Rev. Fran Hayes watch as Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. denounces the executive order signed by President Donald Trump’s immigrant and refugee travel moratorium executive order alongside Islamic House of Wisdom Imam Mohammad Elahi during a press conference Feb. 1.

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — Following President Donald Trump’s immigrant and refugee executive order, religious and community leaders spoke out against the travel moratorium which has affected hundreds since it was signed.

An interfaith press conference was held at the Islamic House of Wisdom, 22575 Ann Arbor Trail, by Imam Mohammad Elahi to show solidarity with all religions and races.

“The executive order singed by Trump has caused confusion and chaos around the world,” Elahi said. “We have to defend the rights of everyone affected and our democracy, values, traditions and dignity.”

The executive order signed by Trump Jan. 27 suspended admission into the United States for refugees for 120 days and suspended admission for all Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Also under the order, citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen visa holders cannot enter the United States for 120 days.

“American citizens, not just immigrants and refugees are worried and concerned about the turmoil created by the president,” Elahi said. “It is our duty and obligation to all stand up and speak out.”

Elahi also warned Trump and the administration that their current actions were a route to disruption.

Mayor Daniel Paletko urged everyone to keep the immigration and refugee policy in the forefront.

“We have to keep pushing and stand up to this policy,” he said. “The stories of those affected need to be told and in the news so change can happen.”

In the neighboring city of Dearborn, Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said he is worried about its residents.

“The executive order was released quickly and did not give the opportunity to fully understand it before it was enforced,” O’Reilly said. “We have a large Arab-American community, including residents from Yemen. It is our responsibility as a community to act on the injustice the order represents.”

Detroit Interfaith Council Chairmain Robert Bruttell said every race and religion should be working together as one.

“We all should love God and our neighbor during this time when our country is going from its core beliefs,” he said. “Standing together is the only way to fight back against the danger this policy may bring.”

Littlefield Presbyterian Church Pastor the Rev. Fran Hayes emphasized that the executive order violates the teachings of all faiths.

“Refugees and immigrants already go through a vetting system before they are allowed to enter America,” she said. “Denying them entry is wrongful on our end. Our power to overcome will happen when we come together.”

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)