Jummah at JFK

  • Muslim Americans pray outside Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport on Feb. 3. (Photos by Julius Motal for Voices of NY)
Outside Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport in New York, dozens of Muslim Americans gathered for the Jummah prayer, the Friday prayer service. The prayer took place in conjunction with an interfaith peace rally organized by the New York Immigration Coalition.

Before the prayer, Suzanne Loebl, a 91-year-old German-Jewish refugee and Holocaust survivor, spoke about her experiences growing up during World War II and how she was denied entry to France as a refugee. She ultimately made it to Belgium. A self-described “ex-refugee,” Loebl expressed solidarity with those affected by the ban.

Imam Al-Hajj Tali ‘Abdur-Rashid of The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood then spoke in Arabic and English to those gathered about banding together and standing up to injustice.

The prayer service and rally came a week after President Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries: Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Sudan. JFK and airports around the country were the sites of protests over the weekend immediately after the order was signed on Jan. 27, as individuals attempting to enter the U.S. from those countries were detained.

In federal court in Virginia on Feb. 3, a government lawyer said that 100,000 visas had been revoked as a result of the order, although the State Department said the number was “lower than 60,000.”

Protests against the executive order have taken place throughout the week.

Julius Motal is a photojournalist based in New York City who has reported on stories in Turkey, Greece and the U.S. He is a 2014 graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

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