Dozens gather in Charleston to show support for local Islamic community

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Dozens of locals gathered on upper King Street in Charleston Friday, carrying signs and standing together in a show of support for local Islamic community here in Charleston.

The outpouring was organized on a neighborhood Facebook page, following a week of national protests over President Donald Trump's travel ban on people from primarily Islamic countries.

The local group of supporters gathered outside Central Mosque of Charleston in advance of Friday's prayer service with the goal to support diversity in Charleston.

"In my faith, love your neighbor is the second greatest commandment and that's what we're called to do," Brian Yon, who organized the group, said.

"I think it really shows what America's all about to stand up for people that are marginalized in society and maybe don't have a voice," Yon said. "We just want to show diversity is America's greatest strength."

According to Amer Mahmood, Central Mosque has received hundreds of emails plus phone calls since the executive order was announced.

"We're so blessed to have all these neighbors to come and show their support," Mahmood said. "It's definitely not a happy occasion for us and we appreciate all of them coming here. A lot of people in our congregation got affected by it. We have people from 26 different countries come and attend our mosque."

Friendly faces at Friday's prayer service provided extra comfort.

"We feel comfortable that even though whatever political level things are taking place," Mahmood said, "The general public is still with us, people are still with us, and we appreciate their support and help."

The mosque released the following statement earlier this week in response to the travel ban:

"The Islamic community of Charleston as represented by the Central Mosque of Charleston (CMC) is concerned and objects to the recent Presidential executive order banning people and refugees from certain countries. This form of discrimination falls against the American values and Islamic values that we hold precious. It is being viewed by all faith leaders as wrong and inconsistent with guidance from God.

We at CMC join all faith based leaders & organizations that promote Peace, Compassion and Justice for all. We are grateful and comforted by the outpouring of support from the low-country and South Carolina community." 

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