The day before President Donald Trump signed an executive order, since nicknamed the “Muslim Ban,” Philadelphia’s city council was busy supporting its Muslim constituents.
Resolution No. 161119, a legal reaffirmation of the City of Philadelphia’s commitment to fighting Islamophobia, was co-sponsored by five city councilors and passed unanimously at the council’s first session of the year, on Thursday, January 26.
More than 10 percent of Philadelphia’s population is Muslim, making it one of the largest Muslim communities in the country. This hasn’t inoculated the city against Islamophobic hate crimes, however. In the most famous, recent incident of anti-Muslim bigotry, a pigs head was thrown at the entrance of the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in December 2015.
But, hate is not winning in Philly. On Thursday and over the weekend, Philadelphians came out in full force to show President Trump exactly why they are called the City of Brotherly Love. Thousands took to the streets and filled Philadelphia International Airport to protest against the “Muslim Ban,” demanding the president rescind his executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim majority countries, as well as all refugees, from entering the country for a period of time (Syrian refugee flows have been indefinitely halted).
Obviously, Philadelphia hasn’t been the only city to demand the order’s overturning, nor is it the only one to pass anti-Islamophobia legislation.
One of the legislation’s co-sponsors, Philadelphia Councilwoman Helen Gym, also serves as the national Vice-Chair of Local Progress, a network of hundreds of municipal and county officials working together to advance progressive issues at the local level. Thanks to Local Progress’s American Leaders Against Hate and Anti-Muslim Bigotry Campaign, forty similar resolutions have been introduced in city councils and school boards from New York to Texas.
In this episode of the Muftah podcast series, Councilwoman Gym explains why she co-sponsored the resolution and what it ultimately means for Philadelphia’s Muslim community.
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