University Of Michigan Community Forms Circle Of Protection Around Praying Muslim Students In Powerful Photo
Rebecca van Ommen

The Michigan community is letting the world know they won’t stand by and let hateful racists launch attacks against their Muslim community.

The University of Michigan’s Muslim Student Association held a group prayer on Monday evening in response to the recent attacks against Muslim students on the Ann Arbor campus. According to The Michigan Daily, a female student wearing a hijab was approached by a man who threatened to light her on fire if she did not comply with his orders to remove her head covering. In a separate incident, another Muslim student was cornered by two men who made disparaging remarks about her religion before pushing her down a hill.

Nearly 300 students, faculty and community members gathered to take part in the prayer, with non-Muslim participants forming a protective circle around those who were praying in an effort to show solidarity.

Junior Stephen Wallace, who is African-American, said he attended the prayer along with other Black students in hopes of sending a message of unity. He wants further action from the University administration on alt-right fliers posted around campus.

“We’re here for (Muslims) as a fellow minority, another marginalized group of people,” Wallace said. “I hope that President Schlissel does address the hateful fliers that have been posted up. I think that more needs to be done to investigate who is posting these fliers, because people have been posting these going back to September … and it seems like nothing is being done to stop them.”

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Sophomore Rami Ebrahim is hopeful the prayer gathering helped reassure Muslim students that the campus is a safe space, despite the currently tense state of race relations throughout the country.

“There’s a tense climate on campus, especially for Muslim students, and especially for more identifiable Muslim students — especially the women,” Ebrahim said. “We wanted to show that some of the things happening on campus are not representative of the student body or are representative of all of the country in general.”

The attacks against the University’s students are just a few of the many that have swept the country in the wake of Trump’s presidential win.