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Local groups to hold Unity Rally to oppose Executive Order travel ban

by Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter

Oklahoma City, OK – Americans Against the Next War (AANW) along with a coalition of other local groups will host a “No Ban No Wall Unity Rally’ and demonstration on Friday, February 10 at 1 p.m., on the south plaza of the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City.

In conjunction with hundreds of other demonstrations across the U.S., the rally will protest President Trump’s executive order banning travel to the U.S. for refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. That list includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya.

Music will open the event at 12:30 p.m. and Muslim prayers will take place on south plaza around 2 p.m.

Local civic and religious leaders protesting the executive order will include Rep George Young (D-Oklahoma County); Nathaniel Batchelder, Oklahoma City Peace House director; Rev. Jesse Jackson, pastor of East Sixth Street Christian Church; Rabbi Vered Harris, of Temple B’nai Israel; Imad Enchassi, senior Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma; and immigration attorney Michel Brooks-Jimenez.

“The administration’s ban has been roundly criticized by Middle East experts and former U.S. officials as counter-productive to its goal of protecting Americans,” said Batchelder, an organizer of Friday’s rally.

He noted that letters urging the administration to reverse the ban have been signed by more than 900 current and former officials including Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, President Obama’s national security advisor Susan Rice, and Richard Clarke, who served under Presidents Ronald Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, and G.W. Bush.

“More than 4,000 academics, including more than two dozen Nobel Laureates, have signed an open letter to the Trump administration,” Batchelder added, “They urge the President to reconsider the ban. The letter says that ‘this discriminatory treatment of immigrants fundamentally contravenes the founding principles of the United States.’”

Nearly 100 tech companies, including Facebook, Google and Uber have now added their support to the lawsuit, State of Washington v. Trump, to halt the recent executive order.

As reported by the Seattle Times, over 21,000 Washington residents were born in the seven countries named. In court filings, state lawyers said that over 7,000 state residents were affected by the ban.

Government lawyers in a related case in Virginia said that at least 60,000 and possibly as many as 100,000 people have had their visas revoked as a result of the executive order.

The Nineth Circuit Appeals Court could rule at any time on whether to allow the Trump administration’s request to lift the restraining order or allow it to remain.

Americans Against the Next War is a coalition of individuals from central Oklahoma dedicated to peace in the Middle East and justice for all people. Co-sponsors of the rally include the Peace House OKC, the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City (ISGOC), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Oklahoma and KVOY Radio.

For more information, visit the AANW Facebook page.

Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Oklahoma City Peace will speak at the “No Ban No Wall Unity Rally” on Friday, Feb. 10 at the State Capitol. Photo by Darla Shelden
Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Oklahoma City Peace House will speak at the “No Ban No Wall Unity Rally” on Friday, Feb. 10 at the State Capitol. Photo by Darla Shelden

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