President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 27 halting travel from seven Muslim majority countries in the Middle East and Africa. Several students and faculty members at the college are from those countries or know of people needing to travel to and from them.
Hamid Reza does not practice Islam, but obtained a bachelor’s degree in polymer engineering while living in Iran. Reza moved to the US two years ago and has been taking pre-dentistry courses at the college. He said he is heartbroken by the new travel ban.
“I know some people who are green card holders and after this executive order they will not be able to get back into the country,” Reza said. “Also, I was planning to go to Iran because my dad is scheduled for open-heart surgery this summer and because of this executive order I’m not able to go back and take care of him.”
The Muslim Student Association (MSA) has not met yet this semester, but Samira Hussein, the group’s faculty adviser, also knows several people who will not be able to see their families due to the order.
“I have been talking to people who are within my immediate circle, and there is a lot of chaos and confusion,” Hussein said. “People are very concerned, very scared. … Nobody had anticipated the suddenness of how this was going to be implemented.
Mariam Wadood, vice president of the MSA, was saddened by the news of the order.
“My first reaction was I was just really sad, because there’s the refugees that need our help and if we aren’t letting them in then,” Wadood said. “I know other countries who are happy to, but I think we have our duty to help them as well. I was sad, then I was frustrated, but now I think I’ve slowly started to accept it.”
Wadood said the group doesn’t currently have any plans in reaction to the executive order, but said they are holding activities aimed at ignorance this semester. One of those activities will feature a discussion on feminism in Islam.
“People think that Muslim women are usually oppressed and things like that and we’re bringing in a guest speaker to talk about that,” Wadood said.