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Local Muslim leader says President Biden's reversal of travel ban offers hope for better future

Posted at 10:26 AM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 11:26:40-05

WACO, TX — A local Muslim leader is reacting to a move by President Joe Biden on his very first day in office.

Former President Trump signed an executive order in 2017, putting a travel ban on a list of Muslim predominant countries, quickly earning the nickname the "Muslim ban."

"Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on," Former President Trump said at the time.

Critics of the ban include Al Siddiq, an immigrant from Pakistan and the founder of the Islamic Center of Waco.

"To start with, this policy that putting a ban on Muslims, are against American values."

According to the Trump administration, the goal of the Executive Order was to keep foreign terrorists from entering the United States.

"Muslims are very peaceful and very productive citizens of this country just like me," Siddiq said. "I served this country. Muslims are looking for the dream in this country, America is a beacon of light."

Terrorism is a stereotype Muslims have been fending off for years due to the actions of extremists.

"Anybody can claim to be Muslim, Christian, or Jew. Everything reflects their actions," Siddiq said.

He believes true Muslims are peaceful and giving people.

"When America works together, America prospers," Siddiq said.

For the 150 members of the Islamic Center of Waco, which Siddiq started in 1987 after serving in the Army, it's a place to gather and pray.

"First we wash our hands," Siddiq demonstrated.

It's part of the cleansing process, something the nearly 3.45 million Muslims in America do five times each day before they pray on their hands and knees.

"Because there's no further you can bow down in front of your master," Siddiq explained.

President Biden reversed the travel ban on his first day in office, giving hope to people like Siddiq.

"Let's just hope for the better future," Siddiq said.

The Islamic Center of Waco is located near I-35, so they get many travelers who are driving through town that stop there to pray and continue on their trip.