by Aysha Qamar
Ramadan, a month of blessings and reflection consists of fasting from food and water from sunrise to sunset.
At the onset of Ramadan on the 6th day, hundreds of Muslims gathered outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan just as rush hour was winding down.
Community members, Muslim activists and allies joined two advocacy groups, MPower Change and the New York State Immigrant Action Fund, to protest President Donald Trump’s continued xenophobic policies.
Fifth Avenue of New York, one of the busiest streets in the country, was flooded with people gathered together to pray and break fast.
Police officers and officials stood and watched as volunteers worked together to pass out food to attendees.
The peaceful protest took place without chanting and signs with people sitting between security barriers steps away from the entrance to Trump’s midtown Manhattan building.
Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian-American activist and co-founder of the Women’s March, addressed the crowd.
“We as Muslim Americans are here to stay. This country was founded and built on the backs of Muslims and black people,” Sarsour said. “Islam is not a foreign entity to this United States.”
The diverse crowd consisted of people from various racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds joining together in solidarity.
The event occurred some days after Trump issued a controversial statement in which he not only wished Muslims a joyful Ramadan but highlighted the terrorist attack in Manchester, England.
He called out the “perverted ideology” of the ISIS-linked attackers deemed responsible for the bombing and urged Muslims to use the month of Ramadan to condemn terrorism.
Trump is also criticized for using various Islamophobic rhetoric during his presidential campaign. However, in a speech during his Saudi Arabia trip, he tried to explain that the US is not at war with Islam.
Last week, it also became public that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declined to host an event commemorating Ramadan. Since 1999, five of Tillerson’s predecessors have hosted either an Iftar dinner to break the fast during Ramadan, or an Eid al-Fitr reception to celebrate the end of the religious month.
“In the spirit of Ramadan and following the tradition of Muslim communities around the world, we came together tonight as New Yorkers to break bread and build community with people from all faiths and backgrounds, ” said Mohammad Khan, Campaign Director of MPower Change, in a statement to the press.