Muslim students, community members hope to spread message of unity

It’s been one week since president Trump signed an executive order to keep citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for at least the next 90 days.

The order caused confusion in some parts of the country and left some wondering what’s next.

In the wake of the executive order, a message of unity and understanding is what Winona State student groups hope to bring.

“Whether you’re Christian or otherwise, to stand up and support your neighbor,” said Scott Sutter, president of the Lutheran campus center at Winona State University.

For the students, 2017 will bring community conversations and peaceful rallies.

But they say it’s not about taking sides. If anything, they say it isn’t about being on the left or the right side of the aisle, but meeting in the middle for a much needed conversation.

Daoud Jandal, a member of the Shoulder to Shoulder Network says it’s this simple message of unity, that can heal what he says is broken.

Jandal says getting caught up in politics is an easy thing to do, but he says it takes getting to know one another, to put confusion to the side.

“Find a friend, find a student at the university and become a friend of, and you’ll know much more about Islam and Islamic world and the culture,” he said.

Students at Winona say it’s that same message that makes them feel hopeful.

“Because really what’s important is now, and not worrying about the future or getting mad about the past,” said Alexis Salem, member of the Winona State Muslim Student Association.

A ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ rally at La Crosse’s Cameron Park Friday also had area residents coming together to spread that same message of community understanding and acceptance.

While President’s Trumps actions have caused tension across the nation, according to his administration, the travel ban is not meant to oppress anybody, rather make sure people are vetted properly in order to keep the country safe.

More than 100,000 visas have been revoked since President Trump’s executive order on immigration and travel was signed.

Both the Winona Muslim Student Association and the Shoulder to Shoulder Network are planning on hosting a community conversation about coming together later this month.

Muslims in La Crosse say they’ve always felt safe and welcome in this city and they’re hopeful it’ll stay that way.