Since President Donald Trump signed an executive order that banned refugees and others from seven mostly-Muslim countries, a mosque has been burned in Victoria, Texas, and six people were killed in a shooting at a mosque in Quebec, Canada.
Now many Muslims are questioning the safety of their mosques.
Imam Kifah Mustapha, director of the Prayer Center of Orland Park, joined Morning Shift host Tony Sarabia to discuss what he’s feeling as the faith leader of a large Muslim community.
Tony Sarabia: What are your concerns, both as a Muslim and a faith leader of a large Muslim community in Chicago?
Kifah Mustapha: The thing that troubles us the most is that this thing is called a “Muslim ban.” It is very hard to convince your kids and kids with Muslim identity in public schools that it really only applies to travel. The president is using fear to create more fear in community members. And it is a very dangerous approach that will not feed into the well-being of the whole community at large.
Sarabia: What security measures will you and other area imams discuss?
Mustapha: Local imams are meeting to come up with a list of things we’ll want to share around to the mosques, and over the long term, we’re going to heighten security. For example, at our mosque, we canceled all overnight activities because sometimes kids stay overnight. Events for the youth: all doors will be locked and people can only enter through the main entrances; people have to be buzzed in and must be checked out. We pray five times a day, and the prayer itself is like 10 to 15 minutes. We’ll have a security guard at every single prayer who will be standing in front of the door just making sure that the faces coming in are known. You see we had a recent incident in which someone with not-so-familiar face came in with his hands behind his back and he walked to the school next door and the secretary got freaked out. But then he came over and greeted her and said, “we’re your Christian neighbors. Let it be known we are backing you up; these hard times you’re in.”
Sometimes people just like to walk in to see the building. The choice you have to make between safety and greeting these new faces creates a status of concern and procedure that we wouldn’t be going through if it weren’t for this executive order.
Sarabia: Will there be a joint effort between the Muslim and Jewish faith communities to curb hate crimes in Chicago?
Mustapha: To be honest, when you apply one religious approach … it can act on any other one. The next could be any other religion from the Trump administration, so this is really risky and we hope the president will review his executive orders.
This interview was edited for clarity and conciseness. Click play above to listen to the entire interview.