Muslim female students across the United States are peacefully fighting US President Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric with education.
Part of the Books not Bombs initiative started by The Syria Consortium to help educate Syrian refugees, the women have fast-tracked their campaign since Trump signed executive orders restricting seven Muslim-dominated countries in January.
The campaign, launched last year, now has over 18, 000 student volunteers signing petitions, holding protests and staging demonstrations quietly – managing to help mobilise programmes allowing immigrants access to education. From setting up scholarship programmes for displaces women at the Barnard College in New York, to the collection of emergency funds for refugee students in the University of South California, the movement has picked up pace.
A Books Not Bomb organiser at UCLA, Reem Karmouta firmly believes that “education is a human right”.
“Here in the United States, we tend to take our education for granted. We are surrounded by amazing institutions and opportunities that many would die for,” Karmouta said. “Books not Bombs hopes to assist in providing equal opportunity for education for all, especially those, like Syrian refugees, who can no longer access institutes of higher education [in their home countries due to the conflict].”
Karamouta expressed her disappointment over the travel ban under Trump administration. “The travel ban made me feel hated and unwelcome in the place I love most, the place I call home,” she describes. “I understand the struggles that come with being different, with being a minority.”
For Karamouta, Books Not Bombs is helping to make the future seem a little less gloomy. “I want people to look ahead, decades into the future. When looking at the post-conflict situation in Syria, it is essential to think about higher education,” she warns.
“If we do not take action now, the country will have lost thousands of potential professionals who could have made the nation flourish into the state it once was,” she adds.
This article originally appeared on the HelloGiggles.