Social Media Drives Nationwide Solidarity Over Muslim Ban

Protesters along with lawmakers lashed out against the detainment of immigrants at airports, including a married couple with disabilities in their 80s and a five-year-old boy.


Protesters in opposition to President Donald Trump’s order to restrict people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States gathered at several major airports around the country on Saturday.

Following in the footsteps of large-scale protests, such as during Arab Spring and Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S., social media was used to both broadcast gathering locations and document who was being detained at the airports. News coverage soon followed and everyone from politicians to artists began to make statements on social media.

Trump told reporters in the White House’s Oval Office earlier on Saturday that his order was “not a Muslim ban” and said the measures were long overdue.

“It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over,” he said.

New York

More than 1,000 people gathered for a daylong protest at John F. Kennedy International Airport at Terminal 4 parking.

Working Families, a growing progressive political organization, made a Facebook Live video after 3 p.m. on Saturday asking people to join the protest. The video went viral and has since received more than 15 million views:

Hameed Jhalid Darweesh, who worked with the U.S. in Iraq in a number of roles, including as an interpreter for the U.S. Army, was one of the people detained at JFK.

“What I do for this country? They put the cuffs on,” Darweesh said when he was released shortly after noon on Saturday. “You know how many soldiers I touch by this hand?”

Jim Axelrod, anchor of CBS Saturday Evening News, tweeted about Darweesh’s detainment:

Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, an Iraqi in route to Houston who was detained, was released Saturday night.

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) tweeted on Saturday:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office tweeted:

Vahideh Rasekh, a Ph.D. student at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, was also detained on Saturday.

She was released at around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday after nearly 20 hours of detention.

Washington, D.C. Area

More than 100 protesters gathered near the baggage claim area of Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia, 26 miles west of downtown Washington, D.C.  They held signs and chanted, “Say it loud, say it clear, Muslims are welcome here.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) was present and spoke with the protesters.

“We have come too far as a nation,” Booker said. “The rights that we stand for, the rights of religious freedom, the rights that we have fought for, civil rights … are American rights. What is going on right now is in violation of those rights.”

An 88-year-old man and his 83-year-old wife, who are both in wheelchairs, had green cards but were still detained for hours. Their granddaughter told The Daily Beast her grandmother recently had a stroke and her grandfather is legally blind.

“They really weren’t treating them very nicely,” she said of her grandparents’ time in detention. “They took a lot of their stuff.”

What was taken included their medication.

After several hours of questioning, an Iranian mother was reunited with her five-year-old son. The boy had been traveling with another family member on a flight and she waited for hours until he was released to her, according to WJLA.

A veteran drove two hours with his son to participate in the protest.

Additional Cities

At Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta, Rep. John Lewis waited for information on the processing of Iranian families returning to the city.

Kasim Reed, major of Atlanta, tweeted at 11:38 p.m.:

San Francisco:

According to USA Today, protests also took place at airports in Boston (100 people), Chicago (1,000), Dallas (800), Denver (200), Houston (100), Los Angeles (300), Minneapolis (100), Newark (120), Philadelphia (200), San Diego (300) and Seattle (1,000).

On Saturday, artist Kadir Nelson tweeted a photo of his piece “So Together” encouraging diversity:

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  • How will the president’s actions impact the people who are feeling disenfranchised already and falling prey to terrorist radicalizing tactics? How will this administration protect us from home grown terrorists already here? It is a difficult problem, but this is the real threat. Was there no better way to screen the refugees and individuals traveling on approved Visas? What happens to people who immigrated here and still have family in these countries? Please pray for America and for these poor people who are caught in the cross-hairs of this action.

  • I’m retired USN, and this makes me sick. This is not what I fought for. It looks like I spent 20 years defending a bill of rights that one rich idiot can just flush down the toilet. He MUST have committed at least one ‘high crime or misdemeanor’ by now. Impeach him!! Denying rights to all these people is making us look REALLY bad in the world. He is going to get us in a war, and we will be out of friends. Whatever happened to “Liberty and Justice for All”? Dammit, I love this country and what it stands for, and this idiot is destroying this country real fast.

    • Admiral Rogers and General Clapper will find evidence of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians, if it exists. I give this 18 months max. Hopefully nobody will blow up a carrier or detonate a dirty bomb before then.

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