Online they’ve been dubbed “pizza angels.”
A Valley Stream family showed support Saturday for protesters at John F. Kennedy International Airport against President Donald Trump’s 90-day U.S. entry ban on seven Muslim-majority countries by buying 30 pizzas and passing out slices to demonstrators.
“It was extremely spontaneous,” Fatimah, a sophomore at Hofstra University, said Sunday. “I was home in pajamas. We talked about it as a family and said, ‘Hey, we need to really do something. ...Islam is a religion that promotes peace and what other New Yorker way than to bring our community together than pizza?’”
So Fatimah, 18, her sister Zainab, 12, and their father Karim, 40, piled the pies into their trunk along with some Qur’ans from the Islamic Center of Long Island in Valley Stream, where they worship, and headed to the airport.
It was chaotic, with traffic and heightened security around Terminal 4, where the protestors had descended, when the family arrived about 9 p.m. But they were met with smiles and thanks.
“It was really heartwarming to hear, ‘Thank you for being here. Thank you so much for coming out to support,’” said Fatimah. “People were really happy to have hot pizza. ... I woke up this morning, I had all these notifications. All my friends were tagging me as a pizza angel.
Trump’s executive order, signed late Friday afternoon, suspended entry into the U.S. for 90 days for citizens from seven majority Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The order also barred entry of all refugees for 120 days, and those from Syria indefinitely. The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit and a federal court judge in Brooklyn late Saturday temporarily blocked part of the plan.
Trump has said the ban will help to protect the country from foreign terrorist entry.
But to Fatimah said the new Trump policy on immigrants and refugees “ignores humanity in order to create a false sense of security.”
Karim, who said he spent about $350 on the pizza, said he hoped his family’s actions spread this message: “Muslims are like Americans. We’re generous. We’re humane. We’re people with high character, morals.”
The family, longtime Valley Stream residents, asked that their last name not be published because they had been subjected to online harrassment because of their activism in pushing for their school district to recognize the Eid holidays, a pair of Muslim holy days.
“We’ve never really been a protesting family,” Fatimah said. “But it affects me so much, being a Muslim American woman who wears the hijab, I had to go out and make my voice heard.”
But they were back at it on Sunday, albeit without the pizza. The family got in their car Sunday afternoon and headed to Manhattan to join a protest against Trump immigration policies.