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Immigration executive order affecting First State students, educators

Megan Pauly
Delaware Public Media
Mrs. Mallick, owner of Happy Times preschool and child care center, talks about the importance of cultural awareness in schools.

Hundreds of supporters filled the Islamic Society of Delaware Monday night, responding to President Trump’s executive order on immigration.


In addition to an imam, several rabbis and pastors spoke out against the order. A few Muslim women - known as "sisters" - spoke about its impact in First State schools.

“My best friend – her dad’s from Libya," said NoorJamal, president of University of Delaware's Muslim Student Association. "He’s actually a Libyan refugee. And so she wanted to go to Libya really badly recently, and she was upset about it. She was unsure if she could go.”


Another of Jamal’s friends at the University of Delaware is currently in Pakistan visiting family.

That friend plans to return to the U.S. next week, and Jamal hopes she is able to make it back into the country without any trouble.


Local educator Nooreen Sayeed says she’s already seen the effect of Trump’s executive order banning refugees and immigrants from several Muslim majority countries on local Muslim kids.

“They’re coming to school where their parents are actually telling them: 'don't tell anyone you’re a Muslim,' " Sayeed said.

She and others called for more religious tolerance, diversity and cultural awareness in schools.

That’s something  Elly Alexander, 5th-grade teacher at Wilmington’s Albert Einstein Academy took to heart. She talked to Nooreen about partnering with the Islamic Society of Delaware’s school.

“Our students learn Hebrew, and their students learn Arabic, and we should be learning Arabic and they should be learning Hebrew," Alexander said.


Alexander and her mother – a Holocaust survivor - were also at  Philadelphia International  airport over the weekend to protest.

She says while Trump’s executive order coinciding with Holocaust Remembrance Day Friday was terribly poor timing, she – and others Monday – hope ultimately it brings different cultures together.


Other local leaders - including Delaware Governor John Carney, Senator Chris Coons, and New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer - also attended and spoke during Monday's event.


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