NEW YORK – In a difficult time for Muslims in America, members of the community in Buffalo, New York, hosted on Monday a conversation about Islamophobia in Buffalo Muslim Council, with aim of correcting misconceptions about their faith and reaching out to their neighbors.
“It’s definitely a time of turbulence, a time of great concern, and we just at this point I’d like to just wait and see,” Bayram Arman, a Muslim who came to the US from Turkey more than 30 years ago, told TWC News on Monday, February 20.
Aram, along with about two dozen other community members, got chance to discuss their concerns about a rise in what some say are anti-Muslim policies under the President Trump.
Dr. Khalid Qazi, who heads the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) shared concerns about the current political climate, especially after Trump’s latest refugees ban from seven Muslim countries.
“It was rolled out in such a fast fashion that it did not allow for all the agencies to be ready or all the travelers to know in advance as to what was happening. And as it turned out it was against the U.S. Constitution also,” said Qazi.
In the middle of rising Muslim fear, these events break the ice in the community, creating a much-need conversation retired UB Political Science professor Claude Welch said.
“The first thing we need to do is to understand the great majority of Muslims in this country are people who have come here for the freedom that we offer – in terms of politics, in terms of religion, in terms of economic opportunity,” said Welch.
“Our Muslims here are an inspiration to Muslims around the world because of the opportunity they have to struggle for freedom of religion, opportunities for economic gain, and for education of their children.”
Qazi added he’d like to see the new administration engage in the same type of open dialogue.
“I think if the policy is not addressed publicly, is not discussed publicly, does not have an input by the public, does not have input form key stakeholders, I think that policy will not go through. And if it does, it will probably create more issues than address the issues,” said Qazi.