Interfaith Leadership Council declares solidarity with Muslim community at social


Jonathan Edwards (left) and Abraham Bassam (right) unveiled ILC’s banner at the social.

Just weeks after President Donald Trump issued a travel ban, the Interfaith Leadership Council at St. Edward’s University unveiled a banner proclaiming in bold red letter “We stand with our Muslim neighbors.”

The banner, which is displayed outside of the chapel, was the focus of the council’s first solidarity social Feb. 17. In the days following, a draft of Trump’s revised ban was released in which immigrants and refugees from the same Muslim majority countries as the original ban were targeted.

“If we are educating ourselves about one community, we must educate ourselves about every community that surrounds us. This banner symbolizes our willingness to stand with every faith and non-faith community on this campus,” said President of ILC Zwiesineyi Chindori-Chininga prior to revealing the sign.

The ILC plans on making the social an annual event to recognize organizations on campus that have fostered diversity and inclusion. The event aims to emphasize solidarity with various faiths and cultures, and could therefore hold an emphasis on other groups in subsequent years, depending on current events.

Coincidentally, newly-minted organization AmericaIWill, which zeroes in on various social justice issues through discussion and service, is currently focusing on the issue of immigration. Co- founder Lilli Hime voiced a statement of solidarity at the event. “We envision a future in which different faiths and ethnicities live in harmony,” said Hime. Upon stating the organization’s solidarity with the Muslim community on campus, Hime then said, “we refuse to be silent in the face of injustice… together we are stronger.”

Another group represented on campus is the Latino Student Leaders organization. The president, Jovahana Avila said during a statement of solidarity with Muslim students, “it means speaking up — even if you aren’t of the same group, standing up with them and supporting those voices and supporting the movement,” said Avila. “It truly means going outside of your comfort zone and trying to understand what it is they are feeling.”

Other groups represented at the social include African Student Organization, Black Student Association, Jewish Student Association, Asian Student Association and fashion magazine CABRA. The social also involved discussion on what attendees think solidarity means and how to reach out to those who are marginalized.

Essentially providing the keynote speech of the social was president of the Muslim Student Association Hiba Siddiqi.

“With your presence today, you’ve proven purity of humanity, proven our charity and love for each other eclipses all of our flaws,” said Siddiqi. “You’ve given our community on campus something that is seemingly a big mess in this political climate, and that’s a sense of belonging,” said Siddiqi.

Notes of solidarity can be read on the trees outside of campus ministry, as attendees were invited to partake in an interfaith prayer and tie their personal thoughts and sentiments ornament style at the closing of the event.