VIDEO: ‘Islamophobia’s got to go!’ Muslim-support rally at Chief Sealth IHS

The latest show of support for Muslims, amid a regional and national surge in Islamophobia, happened this morning at Chief Sealth International High School, right before classes started for the day.

The rally was organized by Sealth’s Black Student Union, as announced in the school’s Daily Bulletin. A crowd we counted at more than 70 students and teachers gathered on the steps along the east side of the school auditorium to display signs and chant.

Leading the chants was student Abshira Sala, who summarized the rally’s message afterward:

Part of the rallying cry was “Justice for Hamza” – referring to citywide concerns related to the recent death of 16-year-old Somali-American Hamza Warsame on Capitol Hill. Meantime, a hate-crime investigation is under way in the case of a ride-share driver who reported being harassed and assaulted by a passenger picked up last week in what was described as “southwest Seattle.”

In addition to today’s rally, recent shows of support for local Muslims included a resolution passed by the City Council yesterday, and a regional gathering of faith leaders at a north-end mosque last Friday, with West Seattle’s Rabbi Zari Weiss of Kol HaNeshamah among them.

21 Replies to "VIDEO: 'Islamophobia's got to go!' Muslim-support rally at Chief Sealth IHS"

  • Dude December 15, 2015 (10:53 am)

    GREAT JOB for having this!!!
    We embrace all religions and good people in West Seattle and in this country!!!

  • Oakley34 December 15, 2015 (11:04 am)

    I usually loathe to stand places, hold signs, and chant things…but I’d have stood, held, and chanted with these kids.

  • HappyOnAlki December 15, 2015 (11:09 am)

    So proud of these kids! Gives me hope for the future ~

  • dsa December 15, 2015 (11:50 am)

    Go Sealth, these are great citizens.

  • D December 15, 2015 (11:53 am)

    Freedom of religion for everyone…

  • Eric December 15, 2015 (12:09 pm)

    Good job kids! Wish I’d known so I could have gone over myself.

  • Karen December 15, 2015 (12:39 pm)

    Proud of these kids and hopeful for our future!

  • AJP December 15, 2015 (1:25 pm)


  • JennyL December 15, 2015 (1:34 pm)

    Thank you for driving out fear and sharing peace by standing together!

  • cil December 15, 2015 (2:23 pm)

    Absolutely love this. Brings tears to my eyes!

  • clark5080 December 15, 2015 (2:43 pm)

    Ok so I applaud these students for taking a stand. My one question is do you just want to allow Immigration without a good vetting process in place? The current process is in need of reworking.

    I am a rightie and do not support Trump (can’t stand him or Limbaugh) but most people I know that are conservative are not against letting Syrian (or other refugees) Immigrate here. They simply want to make sure the small percentage of terrorist are not allowed in the US.

  • Marty December 15, 2015 (3:23 pm)

    The current refugee process takes two years on average to complete and you need a sponsoring family member or organization (community org, church, etc.) to make it work.

    Current normal immigration, even if you’re a citizen in good standing from a Euro country like England will still take someone about 8 months to a year to complete and you still need a sponsor to get in.

    The best numbers that I could find for refugees was that since 2001, 24 people that were brought in through the refugee program have been arrested (just arrested, not convicted) and a smaller number of those arrested have been convicted, I think around 3-5 best I can tell. Since 2001 through the refugee program they have resettled approximately 785,000 families and people.

    Just taking the arrested number that means that 99.99996% have been just fine.

    Now I just did a couple of internet searches for this, “# of refugees arrested since 2001”, “refugees terrorists” and “us refugees since 2001” so though very convincing they’re not my numbers, just averages that I found.

  • NeoYogi December 15, 2015 (3:30 pm)

    So, for those of you who keep harping on not letting refugees come in to the country for whatever reason…what do you propose we do with the terrorists that were born, raised and reside here? The mass shooters, random bombers and hate speech mongers that live next door, down the street and in the next room? Because to be honest, I’m more afraid of them. The reason why we don’t have a system in place to vet for dangerous people coming across borders is because there are so very few of them! Who doesn’t understand that? Congratulations to the Sealth students for rising above the fray.

  • T Rex December 15, 2015 (3:33 pm)

    Agreed clark5080.

  • wscommuter December 15, 2015 (4:24 pm)

    @clark5080 … I appreciate your civil and thoughtful post. I am far from an expert on immigration process or law … but what I’ve read tells me that it is already a vigorous process. Could it use tightening? Perhaps, and by all means do so.
    But I would also point out that our current obsession with “Syrian” refugees misses the point. Terrorists can – and will – come from countries all around the globe, including our own. Just a fact. God knows, we have enough crazies here in the U.S., some of whom are Muslims and some of whom no doubt consider themselves “good Christians” (see recent Colo. Springs shooting).
    Go ahead and tighten immigration review – it might make us a bit safer. But don’t kid yourself that a dedicated terrorist (Muslim, Christian, or whomever) will sometimes find a way to get through and do their evil deeds. Bless the police, FBI, etc., for their efforts. But they can’t stop it all.

    Much more to the point, HUGE admiration to the Sealth students today … rising above Trump and his shameless pandering to bigots is the REAL American way.

  • ImmigrationAttorney December 15, 2015 (5:37 pm)

    To the initial point of this post, I commend the students and staff for supporting and standing up for our Muslim community members.

    I am actually a resident of West Seattle and an immigration attorney (I work downtown), so I can speak from an informed perspective on the topic raised by clark5080. There is no question that there is already vast and flexible legal authority to keep aspiring would-be terrorists out of the United States – see 8 U.S. Code 1182(a)(3) for a dizzying and very comprehensive list of possible justifications (this was enacted into law after 9/11). There are many, many ways in which the U.S. government has created policies and practices to identify people who fall under these grounds of inadmissibility, and exclude them from the United States.

    As one might imagine, the trend since 9/11 has been to put people on various security risk lists, with limited or no mechanisms to take them off (even if they are wrongly identified as security risks). So there is certainly a complicated and very onerous vetting process already in place, involving Homeland Security, intelligence agencies and more. Anyone claiming otherwise is simply not very well-informed.

    The reasonable question now being asked is: why didn’t our system deny a visa to an individual who was an aspiring terrorist before they came, and actually committed a terrorist act after they arrived? I think the better big-picture question to ask one’s self is not whether we need to reform immigration vetting systems to catch every terrorist, but whether it is truly worth it to do so. Even if we can make immigration vetting better and smarter, we need to be careful to do so in a way that truly makes our immigration system better, and not in an entirely reactive way to the San Bernardino incident.

    Specifically in the San Bernardino case, social media postings appear to have indicated aspirations to terrorism. Is it worth our tax dollars to comprehensively scour the thousands of possible sources of derogatory information on social media for each individual prospective immigrant to this country? If so, how much is it worth? How could that money otherwise be spent, and would it go to better use otherwise to benefit you and future generations?

    In the meantime, as we consider these questions, we aren’t “just allowing immigration” without controls. There are plenty, and they’re already quite detailed and convoluted. Pointing fingers and asking to halt immigration entirely or for large classes of people, like some aspiring would-be leaders are now doing, is just capitalizing on fear for political division. As another commenter wisely pointed out, every system will will fail and have outliers fall through the cracks. Is it really fair to call the system we have an uncontrollable failure, based on one (admittedly tragic) recent case?

  • AHneighbor December 15, 2015 (7:01 pm)

    Good kids. Thanks for taking the time to stand up for a worthy cause.

  • clark5080 December 15, 2015 (7:20 pm)

    My concern is that they will take shortcuts to process them as quickly as possible because of the situation in Jordan

  • E December 15, 2015 (8:51 pm)

    Good job students. I’ve been afraid for my Muslim neighbors in the wake of the recent events. This Islamophobia is irrational and un-American!

  • JTB December 16, 2015 (9:56 am)

    clark5080, with respect it seems to me you are letting your fear shape your thinking. Shortcuts? As quickly as possible? Do you seriously believe that is likely to be the case with all of the additional attention directed at the refugee vetting process Over And Beyond the norm? Think about it.
    I think we have more to fear about how vulgar Islamophobia on the part of Americans at home can feed into the propagandizing efforts of the jihadists.

  • Mohamed Mohamed December 16, 2015 (12:50 pm)

    This is my alma mater. I am not surprised that they are able to stand together against hate. I am so proud.

Sorry, comment time is over.