Hundreds of Muslims pray at SF Civic Center to Protest Trump Executive Order
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) – It was an unusual sight in front of San Francisco City Hall this afternoon. Eschewing the trappings of a mosque for a day, hundreds of Muslims knelt and prayed publicly on the grass at Civic Center Plaza.
The show of solidarity was actually a form of protest.
They were protesting Monday’s executive order signing for a revised travel policy which bans people from six predominately Muslim countries, including Yemen.
“This feels like an attack on our identities as Muslims, as Yemenis and as Americans,” said Jehan Hakim, with the Asian Law Caucus, a group of lawyers that has been assisting many immigrants with legal matters relating to the new ban.
City leaders, including Supervisor Malia Cohen and London Breed, lent their voices at an earlier rally, attended mainly by members of the Yemeni community.
“We believe this is anti-American to deem them as terrorists based on their country of or origin,” said Hakim.
“I move from the land of disaster to the land of hope and this is the land of hope! Of course, I’m afraid,” said Dhaifallah, an American citizen, originally from Yemen. Dhaifallah said he has a child he’s never met because his wife is not a U.S. citizen yet and stuck in Yemen, unable to bring the couple’s two American children here.
“We having hard situation,” said Dhaifallah. “Families over there and we try to get them over to visit us and we visit them we here we working hard.”
After the prayer service, the group marched down Polk Street, on to the Federal Building on Market Street.
“We’re part of the fabric of this country,” said Hesham Hussain of San Jose. “We migrated here in the early 1950s as Yemeni-Americans and we have been here for generations. Stopping immigration from those countries is will not make America safe again.”
Yemenis and other Muslims say nationals from the countries covered by the executive order have not been responsible for any deadly terrorist attacks on American soil.
But the White House argues that they have been implicated in a number of other acts of terrorism.
Yemenis who spoke to KTVU said that they’ll continue to speak out and show Trump that they are not second-class citizens and that the ban deserves to be lifted.