Supporters of Muslim, Immigrant And Refugee Communities March For Peace In Tempe

Published: Friday, February 3, 2017 - 7:56pm
Updated: Friday, February 3, 2017 - 9:32pm
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(Photo by Mariana Dale -KJZZ)
About two hundred or so adults and children carried signs in silence throughout Tempe.

The Islamic Community Center of Tempe was more crowded than usual as the call for afternoon prayer started.

Leaders invited the community and people of all faiths to observe before marching through the streets of Tempe in support of the Valley’s Muslim, immigrant and refugee communities.

“This is an opportunity for us to really educate the community about Islam,” said Usman Karriem, chairman of the board of the Islamic Community Center of Tempe. “You have some curiosities, here’s the opportunity, here’s the platform.”

Inside the Islamic Community Center, Pastor Warren H. Stewart Sr. from First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix helped his grandson pull off his shoes before the afternoon prayer.

“I’m teaching him how to love all people,” Stewart said. “He’s 4 years of age and I’m bringing him up that we’re all part of the same family.”

The march was also a response to President Donald Trump’s Executive Orders banning refugees from seven countries and proposed Arizona law that would eliminate state funding to refugee resettlement programs

“The reason that we’re making a silent March for Peace is that we’re trying to demonstrate that not everything needs to be vocal,” Karriem said.“We need to be present. We need to be available for our community members.”

Among the 200 or so adults and children carrying signs with messages of  “Love For All” was one of America’s newest citizens.

Carla Miller, of the United Kingdom, became a naturalized American citizen earlier in the day.

“I don’t think there is a better way to be proud to have become an American than to stand up for the rights of all Americans,” Miller said. 

She studied the Constitution for her citizenship exam and said she thinks the country’s current leader has showed a “blatant disregard for the Constitution.”

“I want to be able to stand today and say I support the Constitution. I believe in the freedom of speech. I believe in the freedom of religion and this is the way for me to show it,” Miller said.

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