'I am...fashionable to hate': Immigrant moves crowd at local Islamic Center
WEST RICHLAND, Wash. (KVEW-TV) -- Between 300 and 500 people showed up to the Islamic Center of the Tri-Cities Saturday afternoon for a special open house event.
Coordinators said they had never hosted an event like it, open to all community members to come meet the congregation.
Children began by reading verses from the Quran, translating them for the crowds filing in and sitting on the mosque floor.
Ministers, pastors and religious leaders from all faiths went up to the podium to speak, all following a common theme of unity and peace. Each had a story of positive interactions with the local Muslim community.
Then, Kennewick resident Zonia Quero Ziada got up to speak.
"I am a proud American. I am also a proud immigrant," the Venezuelan native said, her voice breaking. Applause filled the room. "I am also a proud Latina. I am also a proud woman of color. I am also a proud Muslim. I guess you could say I am the prototype of everything that has become fashionable to hate."
Many spoke of the scrutiny and distrust facing the Islamic community following recent debate over President Donald Trump's travel and immigration restrictions. Christian and LDS leaders all spoke on the importance of the community to stand with its neighbors to support peaceful Islam.
Outside the building, lines of people waited to write uplifting notes on a poster of yellow post-its.
"We are blessed to have you in our community," said one.
"We got your back," said another.
Organizers and religious leaders in attendance said they hope to do more interfaith events and outreach in the future.