AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Thousands of Texans rallied outside the capitol steps Tuesday morning in solidarity of the state’s Muslim community for Texas Muslim Day at the Capitol, a biennial event that is held during each legislative session. The day serves as an advocacy day for members of Muslim communities around the state to visit with state leaders and tour the capitol. However, this year’s event, according to organizers, take’s on a new meaning.
“Saying love for all is not enough, hatred for none is as important,” Aziza Faruqi said. “The message is always going to stay relevant and important. The executive order just made it more urgent that it is conveyed.”
The executive order Faruqi is talking about is the one President Donald Trump issued on Friday to temporarily restrict refugees and travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Trump defended the order saying, “It’s not a Muslim ban.”
“We are not different. We are not separate. We are your neighbors,” Faruqi said. “We are citizens of the United States.”
Faruqi said she stood on Tuesday in peace. She was surrounded by thousands of Texans who voluntarily stood hand-in-hand to create a wall of peace around the event’s attendees.
“I feel like we are all one people, we are one race, the human race, and we just need to stand together in love and be united rather than be divided and hate each other,” Barbara James said. “We get so much more done when we work together.”
James said this was her first time attending the event. James said she was shocked when one of Tuesday’s speakers thanked President Trump for the large turnout—saying Trump’s actions inspired the outpouring of support.
“Everyone was united here in love. We had all races, all colors, all ages — it was beautiful,” James said. “Today I think we saw the United states of America. We saw who Texas really is, and we are all about loving each other.”
According to the Refugee Services of Texas, 57 refugees were scheduled to arrive in Texas in the coming weeks. A spokesperson for the organization said that their trips have now been canceled due to Trump’s executive order.
Those individuals are from the seven countries included in the executive order. The spokesperson said another 55 refugees will continue to resettle in Texas this week as scheduled.