Noora Khalil (pictured above) is a 24-year-old information system management major. As a senior at USF St. Petersburg, Khalil founded Charit-A-Bull, a charity outreach club. She is also a Muslim woman.
Could you summarize the Muslim Ban as you understand it?
Essentially, it stops people from select countries from coming into America.
Where did you hear about it?
It was always a hot topic throughout Trump’s campaign, so I constantly heard about it.
How do you feel this impacts your life?
It’s moreso an indirect impact than a direct one for now. I know it will affect a lot of my family friends. I’m afraid they won’t feel safe enough to travel, fearing that they won’t be able to come back. Another part of me is worried that I will be mistaken for being a foreigner (which happens) and people might think it’s acceptable to say inappropriate things.
Do you know anyone this ban will impact? How will it do so?
I know a lot of people who have green cards and visas, so I worry about them and their families. It all goes back to being afraid to leave the U.S. and never being able to come back. It will affect us as a whole in the sense that we would be losing doctors, engineers, people in the IT field, among many other important roles here in the U.S.
How do you think this will impact the lives of Muslim people living in the United States?
I’m afraid people will start profiling someone who might look or “sound” Muslim, which will open up very bad doors. I fear that someone like my mom, who is visibly Muslim and has an accent despite being fluent in English, will be subject to a lot of hate outside the home. There is nothing that scares me more than thinking about how someone can inflict any kind of harm, whether it be verbal or physical, onto someone as kind as my mother.
What do you think would be an ideal way to deal with refugees and “keep the U.S. safe,” if possible?
While there is no black and white answer, it pains me knowing that they are running from the same people we are trying to protect ourselves from. All of these victims had a life’s worth of adventures and stories behind them that were ripped away and they deserve to be able to not only tell us their story but continue writing it in the land of opportunity. Anyone who steps foot onto U.S. soil has the potential to do great things and they can potentially be great contributors to our economy. We look at this situation as a “that’s their problem, not ours,” we should remove the mentality that it’s us vs. them.
What would you ask of your fellow students?
To keep doing what they are doing. While not everyone agrees with how to go about the refugee crisis, what we can agree on is that hate and bigotry in the nation is completely unacceptable. So if you see a person harassing a minority, Muslim or not, speak out on behalf of those that are too scared to raise their voice.
The one thing that makes me so extremely proud to be an American is seeing people fight for something that does not impact them whatsoever. Watching people stand in solidarity and raise their voice since the voices of the minorities are not heard is a beautiful thing. We look back in history at events like the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide and say “ How could they let that happen? We will never let this happen again!”
One large criticism of this ban is that it will do more to alienate people of Muslim faith than it would keep people safe. What are your feelings on the effectiveness of the executive order?
When we look at previous acts of terrorism committed in this country and where the country of origin is, there is little significance to the countries that have been flagged which concerns me in regards to how effective these policies will prove to be. I absolutely agree that it alienates Muslims. I find Muslims using the words “We are just like everyone” etc. and non-Muslims using “they” to describe Muslims. It is already separating us and we don’t even realize it.