Muslim community rallies at Capitol to protest King hearing

  • Article by: ROSE FRENCH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 18, 2011 - 7:05 PM

About 200 Muslim imams, community leaders and others held a rally at the Capitol Friday to protest last week’s congressional hearing on the radicalization of Muslims in the U.S.

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Local Muslims prayed in front of the Capitol. The rally began with a march beginning at the Masjid Dawah mosque on University Avenue.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

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About 200 Muslim imams, community leaders and others held a rally at the Capitol Friday to protest last week’s congressional hearing led by New York Republican Rep. Peter King on the radicalization of Muslims in the U.S.

Holding and waving signs that said “Muslims are not the enemy” and “Read the Quran, Mr. King,” the group marched from the Masjid Dawah on University Avenue in St. Paul and arrived at the Capitol around 1 p.m.

“We’re here today to show we Muslims are a peaceful people,” Imam Hassan Mohamud, with the Masjid Dawah, told the group of protestors. “Are we extremists? No. Are we terrorists? No. Are we radicalists? No.”

The gathering of Muslims also held Friday prayers on the Upper Mall at the Capitol. Many of them brought rugs and blankets to knell and pray  in front of the Capitol steps.

The testimonies of Minnesota Muslims played a key role in the controversial congressional hearing, including that of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress. Local Somali community activist Abdirizak Bihi also spoke. Minnesota has the largest Muslim Somali population in the U.S.

Mohamud and other Twin Cities Muslims say the congressional hearing unfairly targeted Muslims and is trying to paint the faith as one filled with terrorists.

Rose French • 612-673-4352

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