NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Long Island News

Long Islanders Hold 'Silent Vigils' In Solidarity With Muslim Neighbors

seldenmosque_fbislamicassociationoflongisland_170627.jpg
Courtesy of the Islamic Association of Long Island
/
Facebook
The exterior of the mosque in Selden, Long Island.

Since the election of Donald Trump, there have been rallies held once a month outside a Selden mosque where Long Islanders have been showing their solidarity with Muslims in their community. The latest rally coincided with the end of Ramadan and the start of the Eid al-Fitr festival.

Ruth Cohen is the organizer behind the rallies, which she calls silent vigils. On the last Sunday of every month, she and a dozen others stand outside the mosque and quietly hold signs and flags. Cohen started organizing these because she is worried about President Trump’s policies and rhetoric towards Muslims. 

“I started them right after the election, I think it was probably because of the demonization of Muslims by Trump and his peers and it was so cruel and I just had to do something about it. I just could not sit by and not do anything and the vigils seemed like a good thing to do.”

Cohen is a retired immigration inspector and asylum officer. 

“I worked with people who were running away from that, those attitudes, they were coming to this country to be free of the fear of having to deal with the attitudes towards them and here it is in our country.

Cohen says the goal of these vigils is to let the Muslim community of 80,000 on Long Island know that they’re not alone. She has no plans to stop holding these vigils in the immediate future.