DENVER (CBS4) – Thousands of people gathered Saturday at Denver’s Civic Center Park to stand behind those of the Muslim faith. The event, which some described as a protest of President Donald Trump, was described as a rally for solidarity.
The event was organized after President Trump briefly enforced travel restrictions to several predominantly Muslim countries. The action is currently blocked in court.
Hundreds of attendees held signs in support of the Muslim community in Denver. Some signs said all Muslims are welcomed into the United States. Others held doormats that said “welcome” on them, as a sign of peace for refugees.
Others held signs criticizing Trump, his cabinet and those who support the current administration. Some protestors had signs which called the president a racist, while others had signs suggesting the president should either be impeached or deported.
The event included speakers of the Muslim faith and politicians.
“We are like you. We like the same things; we go to Broncos games,” said Iman Jodeh, spokeswoman for the Colorado Muslim Society. “We can relate on so many different levels.”
Jodeh, the daughter of a refugee, was one of many Muslims who attended the rally.
Amid the recent travel restriction, Jodeh said she still honored the president’s role.
“I think we just aren’t respecting the policies that are coming out of the office,” Jodeh said.
Jodeh believed those who support the travel restrictions are simply misinformed.
“Most Americans have never met a Muslim. They have a hard time understanding what Islam is, and who Muslims are,” Jodeh said. “Once that goes away, or once that is eradicated, then that fear will go away.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock was one of several speakers at the rally. Hancock spent most of his time speaking about the importance of standing alongside those of the Muslim faith during a time of adversity.
However, the mayor also spoke about his disagreement with Trump.
“I do think he believes this is a reality show,” Hancock said.
During his speech, Hancock called upon several students from South High School in Denver to join him on stage. Hancock recently visited the school, which he described as the city’s most diverse school. While visiting, one student of the Muslim faith asked the mayor to simply “respect our humanity.” Hancock told the crowd those words stuck with him.
“These young people are seeing what is happening as well. And, they are just as affected as anyone,” Hancock told CBS4.
Hancock said he would stand by all religions, and nationalities, in his city no matter what. The mayor added he felt the president was missing a chance to do the same.
“(Trump) could bring hope instead of fear. I think those are the opportunities he misses, and those are the opportunities I look for in a leader,” Hancock said. “And, (he) has failed to demonstrate them each time.”
Muslims at the event told CBS4 they have arranged several opportunities for the community to learn more about the Muslim faith, and Islam as a whole.
Students at South High said they would be hosting an event on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., which would serve as an opportunity for the community to learn more about immigration. Students said translators would be available.
The following Saturday, Hancock said he would be hosting an open forum on the topic of immigration.
Finally, Jodeh told CBS4 she would be hosting an “Islam 101” class on Feb. 23 that would be intended to help further educate the public on Muslims beliefs.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.