Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday forcefully denounced religious bias, delivering an implicit critique of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and recent executives implemented by his administration.
Speaking at the annual Muslim Day at the Capitol in St. Paul, Dayton mounted a defense of religious freedom, saying “there should be a public outcry every time” religious freedom is violated.
“These violations have become daily occurrence, and now they’re condoned, even practiced, by some of the highest levels of our society and our government,” Dayton said. “What terrible example they set for everyone else, especially to our nation’s children and young adults. Is this the way grown-ups are supposed to behave?”
Dayton said incidents involving racial or religious bias are occurring not only across the country but also in Minnesota. He noted his visits to St. Cloud, where a Muslim-owned pharmacy was vandalized; to Shakopee, where a mostly Somali child care center was vandalized, and to Columbia Heights, where anti-Muslim remarks created backlash.
“We’re living in an extremely difficult time in America,” Dayton said. “A time when extremists feel safe to create extreme situations that endanger others. When civil discourse is discarded for uncivil polemics. Or worse when modern mass media transmits every mad deed immediately to the rest of the world.
“That’s why it’s important that we are gathered here today at our state’s Capitol, a gathering place for all Minnesotans, to reaffirm that we are all Minnesotans.”