MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) –
Hagir Abdelmagid and Abdalaziz Herzalla lead the Muslim Student Association at the Auburn University Montgomery, and they believe President Donald’s Trump’s newest executive order on immigration makes their organization more crucial than ever.
“We try to promote Islam as a ‘what it is as a religion?’ instead of what people view it as, these days, which is quite negative,” Herzalla said.
Despite the fact that the revised order drops Iraq from its temporary travel ban list and excludes people who already have visas and green cards, they think the order is still discriminatory. Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Iran, and Syria are all Muslim-majority countries and remain on the list.
Herzalla is Palestinian-American, but he was born in Syracuse, New York. He said America is his home.
“We’re being targeted and seen as the enemy even though I was born and raised here,” Herzalla said. “I’ve lived here my whole life. I believe in this nation. I love this nation.”
For Abdelmagid, who moved from Sudan when she was eight, members of her extended family will feel the impact of the executive order.
“It does affect my grandmother. It does affect my cousins. Everybody who would like to visit. Everybody who would like to come to this country and find what I’ve found,” Abdelmagid said. “I have gotten to have a better education here. I have a cleaner and better life here, and that is what the Statue of Liberty stands for.”
Both students said they protested at the Montgomery Regional Airport when Trump signed the first immigration order.
“We were shocked to see that the majority of the people who protested beside us were non-Muslims, veterans and older generations of the Montgomery community,” Herzalla said. “To see them come support us was heartwarming and showed us that there is always hope for every cause.”
Abdelmagid said the support makes her feel safe in Montgomery because the majority outweighs one office.
In a press conference following the executive order, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that “many people seeking to support or commit terrorist acts will try to enter through our refugee program”. However, both students said the actions of one extremist group is not a reflection or representation of their faith.