Protesters lay down signs so Muslims can pray

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A group of protesters, gathered to voice their anger at Donald Trump's refugee ban, pitched in to help a group of Muslims, and created one of the most poignant images of the weekend.

On Sunday, thousands of Detroit residents assembled at their local airport, as did protesters around the country. The 5:43 p.m. sunset was quickly approaching outside of McNamara terminal — and for the Muslims on hand, that meant it was nearing the time to pray. Protest organizers swiftly coordinated a spot in a pickup area of the city's largest airport.

"Many of the Muslim activists gathered and said, 'Let's pray right here,'" Bilal Dabaja, who participated in the prayer, said. "It was kind of spontaneous."

But there was a problem: It had just started snowing and the lanes set aside for prayer had become damp. Muslims kneel during sunset prayer, but yet this cold Michigan night, there were no prayer mats to be found.

See photos of protesters:

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Protesters and lawyers welcome international travelers in airports amid immigration ban
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Protesters and lawyers welcome international travelers in airports amid immigration ban
A young girl dances with an American flag in baggage claim while women pray behind her during a protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
People chant and hold signs as they protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport International Arrivals gate in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
An international traveler smiles as she walks past the protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
Lawyers and legal assistants network and use social media in the baggage claim area, amid supplies of pizza, water and other food, at Dulles International Airport, aiding passengers who have arrived and encounter problems because of Donald Trump's travel ban to the United States, in Chantilly, Virginia, in suburban Washington, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
Volunteer lawyers work in a dining area of Terminal 4 to assist travelers detained as part of Donald Trump's travel ban in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Lawyer Darryl Hairston works with a team of volunteer lawyers to arrange habeus corpus petitions for travelers detained as part of Donald Trump's travel ban in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Demonstrators yell slogans during anti-Donald Trump travel ban protests outside Hatfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry
Demonstrators sit inside LAX international terminal and yell slogans during protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Ted Soqui
Demonstrators yell slogans during anti-Donald Trump travel ban protests outside Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
Women walk by a team of volunteer lawyers in their makeshift office working to assist travelers detained as part of Donald Trump's travel ban in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Demonstrators march and block traffic during anti-Donald Trump travel ban protests outside Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
An international traveler smiles as she walks past the protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against the immigration ban that was imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump at Los Angeles International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Thousands of protesters gathered outside of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport to denounce the travel ban imposed by President Trump. Protests are taking place at airports across the country. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Demonstrators hold signs outside Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) protesting against U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order blocking visitors from seven predominantly Muslim nations in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Court decisions temporarily blocked the U.S. administration from enforcing parts of Trump's order after a day in which students, refugees and dual citizens were stuck overseas or detained and some businesses warned employees from those countries not to risk leaving the United States. Photographer: Dania Maxwell/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Protesters march during a demonstration against the immigration ban that was imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump at Los Angeles International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Thousands of protesters gathered outside of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport to denounce the travel ban imposed by President Trump. Protests are taking place at airports across the country. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES - JANUARY 29: Demonstrators against President Donald Trump's Muslim Ban come together at 2nd Day of protests at Los Angeles International Airport, in Los Angeles, California, United States on January 29, 2017. Lots of muslim people still under custody of US Custom and Border Patrol after Trumps's executive order. (Photo by Aydin Palabiyikoglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Protesters gather at the international arrivals area of the Washington Dulles International Airport on January 29, 2017, in Sterling, Virginia. US President Donald Trump issued an executive order yesterday barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days and suspends the admission of all refugees for 120 days. / AFP / Thomas WATKINS (Photo credit should read THOMAS WATKINS/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors crowd the sidewalks at HartsfieldJackson Atlanta International Airport to denounce US President Donald Trump's executive order, which restricts refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries in Atlanta, Georgia on January 29, 2017 / AFP / TAMI CHAPPELL (Photo credit should read TAMI CHAPPELL/AFP/Getty Images)
More than 600 people holding protests signs gathered on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017 at the Boise Airport to voice opposition to President Donald Trump's recent refugee order. The protest started with a FaceBook page asking people in the area to join a nationwide movement to gather at airports. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/TNS via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 29: Demonstrators at Philadelphia International Airport protest against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 29: A police officer stands guard as demonstrators at Philadelphia International Airport protest against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
Thousands turn out for a January 29th, 2017 Immigration Ban Protest at Philadelphia International Airport, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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That's when protesters of all ages and races put down their colorful signs — not in defeat of an administration that had just banned refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, but so those praying could do so without getting wet in sub-freezing temperatures.

The act gave a Dabaja, a 31-year old Lebanese man from Dearborn, a new sense of hope.

"It just shows the beauty of coming together," he said. "We have things that bind us against the wrong that we see. Seeing people from various backgrounds whether they're religious or not religious, Christian, Jew, whatever the case may be... They were there in act of solidarity."

Detroit's airport protests were one of dozens over the weekend. Demonstrators from Boise toMiami showed up to terminals nationwide to protest Donald Trump's latest executive order that halted any immigration from seven countries deemed "terror-prone" —Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, and Libya.

"It's like a full on assault on us as Muslims living in this country, especially people who have families in these countries," Dabaja said, while wondering if this executive order was just the tip of immigration iceberg for the Trump administration. "These seven countries could soon expand to many, many other countries, and pretty soon we could find ourselves in a much more difficult situation."

But for a few minutes in Detroit, protesters, paper posters, and prayers created a moment of unity in a city that is home to one of America's largest Arab American populations.

"It was a beautiful thing. You have a stronger hope for humanity. With all of the evil and wrong that we see in the world, there are people who are willing to stand there even with something as simple and symbolic as prayer."

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