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'Not in Our Name': 9/11 Families Protest Trump's Refugee Ban

By Irene Plagianos | February 16, 2017 3:13pm | Updated on February 17, 2017 5:45pm
 At the iconic Sphere sculpture in The Battery, 9/11 families rallied against Trump's 'immoral' ban. Kerri Kelly holds a photo of her stepfather, Lt. Joseph Leavey of FDNY Ladder 15, a first responder killed on 9/11. 'Trump's actions are exploitative, immoral and not safe
At the iconic Sphere sculpture in The Battery, 9/11 families rallied against Trump's 'immoral' ban. Kerri Kelly holds a photo of her stepfather, Lt. Joseph Leavey of FDNY Ladder 15, a first responder killed on 9/11. 'Trump's actions are exploitative, immoral and not safe" Kelly said..
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DNAinfo/ Irene Plagianos

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Chanting "not in our name," families and friends of 9/11 victims gathered at The Battery Thursday to protest President Donald Trump's controversial executive order that restricts refugees and travelers from seven predominately Muslim countries.

In the order signed last month, Trump cited the Sept. 11 attacks as a rationale for curbing travel and suspending refugees from entering the country from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. However, none of the hijackers involved in 9/11 were from those countries. The majority of the terrorists were from Saudi Arabia.

Several protesters Thursday called the ban — which has been temporarily blocked by a federal court — immoral, unconstitutional and said they were "disgusted" that Trump would use 9/11 to justify a ban they believe is un-American.

"Stop using our loved ones to justify the same type of hatred that killed them," said Terri McGovern, whose mother, Ann McGovern, a vice president at Aon Corp. who worked on the 92nd floor of tower 2, was killed on 9/11. "This ban is blanket discrimination, and has nothing to do with what America stands for.

"Donald Trump is making America less safe," McGovern added. "I know my mother would want me here, she would have hated Donald Trump."

The travel ban, which has ignited protests across the city and the country, is currently halted by a federal court's temporary order — a ruling that was upheld by a federal appeals court, effectively allowing travelers to continue to enter the country as they had before the executive order. 

Protesters gathered in front of the iconic Koening sphere, which was pulled from the Twin Towers wreckage, becoming a symbol of resilience. (DNAinfo/Irene Plagianos)

Protesters rallied in front of the iconic Fritz Koenig's Sphere — a 25-ton bronze sculpture that became a symbol of resilience after it was pulled from the wreckage of the World Trade Center damaged, but not destroyed, in the aftermath of 9/11.

Talat Hamdani, a Pakistani-American who lost her son, 23-year-old first responder and NYPD cadet, Mohammad Salman Hamdani on 9/11, said she "disgusted" by Trump's order.

"I'm a proud Muslim American," Hamdani said. "We are here fighting for the soul of America."

"How can Trump say he is protecting us, why not go after Saudi Arabia then?" she added. "My son died trying to help, to protect — don't use his life, or lives of any of the victims to justify this ban."

The small gathering Thursday was peaceful, though one man carrying a Trump-Pence campaign sign kept yelling over speakers — saying, "Go to hell scum" and "You lost."

According to court documents filed Thursday, and the president's Thursday press conference, the Trump administration plans to abandon the disputed travel ban, and issue a new executive order. No specific details about how this executive order would be different were given.