Video courtesy of Imran Ahmad Khan / Columbia Journalism School.
A large crowd gathered in front of the steps of Low Library at Columbia University last Friday, Feb. 3. It was not a protest. Students sat seated with their shoes off. At one point, they bowed their heads in prayer.
In lieu of holding Friday prayers (or Jumu’ah) indoors, Columbia University’s Muslim Student Association held them outside so that students of other faiths could join. Unlike most Friday prayers, this one focused on politics, as students processed President Trump’s recent executive order to ban refugees entering the United States from a number of Muslim-majority countries.
Some 200 students attended the Jumu’ah – both Muslim students and allies from the university community. Asad Dandia, a recent NYU graduate, delivered the prayer. He said that while politics don’t usually come into play during services like this, these past few months have been exceptional. Dandia encouraged students to resist these actions by the Trump administration.
“We can’t afford to be apolitical at this point in time,” Dandia told the prayer attendees. He encouraged the Muslim community to support each other and avoid normalizing President Trump’s policies.
Dandia said it was energizing and empowering to see such a high turnout of students of all faiths at the prayers.
“I’m going to do everything I can to resist,” he said of President Trump’s agenda.