Cedar Rapids Muslims Worried About Travel Ban

Jan 31, 2017

President Trump’s executive order to bar citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States is having a direct impact on families in Cedar Rapids. The Imam at the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids says many people fear they may never see relatives again.

Mother Mosque of North America
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Imam Hassan Selim says the president’s recent order restricting travel between the U.S. and seven predominantly Muslim countries is creating fear and uncertainty among members of his Mosque.

“They are afraid they might not be allowed back to their countries, to their families, to their work when they’ve been here for years," he says. "They’ve made America their home.”

Selim says the Muslims of Cedar Rapids have always been reluctant to react to news events, feeling they weren’t affected by them. Now, he says, it’s become personal. 

“It’s not emotional pain anymore, or something they hear on the news, which doesn’t relate to them directly, doesn’t hit home," he says. "Now, they are affected.”

The Muslim community in Cedar Rapids has a long history there dating back to the 1800s. The city is home to the Mother Mosque of North America and the nation’s first exclusively Muslim graveyard.