Muslim Students at Rush React to Contested Travel Ban

Friday, February 10, 2017

February 10, 2017

President Donald Trump’s contested executive order banning incoming travelers, including immigrants and refugees, from a list of predominantly Muslim countries has provoked intense legal activity and discussion.

For Muslims living in America, it can be a stressful time, eliciting a range of emotions. On February 9, the Rush Muslim Student Association brought together students and faculty on campus for a discussion of the current political climate and opportunities for solidarity and understanding.

Speaking to a packed room, Rush University students shared their experiences about being Muslim in America, including Ayaat Dahleh, a PhD student in the Graduate College: 

“What’s the first thing you notice when you look at me? To many it’s the fact that I wear a head scarf, the hijab. And so more frequently I’ve been receiving the question of why I wear the scarf. But that question is typically accompanied by ‘I don’t mean to be disrespectful; I don’t mean to be rude …’ I automatically respond to that question by stating please don’t apologize. If anything I should be thanking you for having the courage to approach me and ask me such a question because I feel more comfortable now than I did twenty seconds prior to your question. You not only acknowledged the fact that I’m different, but you had enough respect for me to approach me and acknowledge me as a human being and as an individual.”

Rush’s response includes highlighting the ongoing resources for students, faculty and staff from the offices of International Student Services, Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Student Life and Engagement, Legal Affairs, the Rush University Counseling Center and the Student Assistance Program.

The Rush Muslim Student Association is hosting another panel discussion in early March.