About 25 people gathered at the Muslim American Society Katy Center on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 to show support for local Muslims in an event the group named "A Day of Solidarity." The group organized the event in response to the rise in hate crimes against Muslims in America. The people stood at each of the mosque's three entrances gripping posters coated with heart shapes and letters spelling phrases of support: "We are one." "We stand with you."
They awaited those arriving for the afternoon prayer at the Muslim American Society Katy Center. As people streamed in, the group waved and handed them pins with more heart shapes. "We just want to give love to our neighbors," they told those arriving.
At a time when calls have arisen to ban all Muslims from entering the country and while hate crimes targeting Islam have jumped, Muslims throughout the nation have expressed new fears, which have been elevated since the presidential election of Donald Trump. As a counterpoint, this group of about 25 people at the MAS Katy Center gathered on the bitterly cold Friday to illustrate a message of unity.
Kristin Miller, a 50-year-old Katy resident who works at a fine arts nonprofit, organized the gathering largely through social media, calling it a "day of solidarity." The event came in direct response to the negativity she said Muslims have felt lately, particularly during the election season.
During his campaign, President-elect Trump discussed having a Muslim registry and called on all Muslims to be banned from entering the United States until "our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on" in relation to terror threats, a statement he walked back but which some Muslims still fear.
Many Americans have grown weary towards Muslims because of groups like the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS, which has become notorious for carrying out acts of terror throughout the Middle East in the name of Islam and influenced individuals in western countries to follow suit.
In the day's after Trump's Nov. 8 election, hate crimes, which are defined as being motivated by prejudice, reportedly spiked across U.S. school campuses and elsewhere. Incidents included stories by female Muslim students saying people attempted to remove their head coverings.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation also said in their latest hate crime report that anti-Muslim hate crimes in the U.S. rose about 67 percent from 154 incidents in 2014 to 257 in 2015. Overall hate crimes increased by 6.8 percent in the same time frame.
While Houston is an area that typically celebrates its diverse population, its Muslim citizenry remains troubled by the rise in hate crimes…Not surprisingly, Friday's gathering couldn't escape some politics.
Inside the mosque, Dr. Main Al-Qudah, a visiting Imam from the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, spoke a message of unity to a congregation of dozens of mostly men.
Source: Houston Chronicle