Dozens of people in Minneapolis, Minnesota convened on Feb. 19 to march against Islamophobia.
The protest was organized by the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which sought to raise awareness about discrimination faced by Muslim-Americans throughout the U.S., WCCO reports.
Bilal Mustafa of Burnsville said he has been discriminated against both for being African-American and for being a Muslim convert.
“I faced racism in the city that I grew up in. I grew up in St. Louis,” he said.
He added: “We are those who live next door to you, we’re the guy who fixes your car, we’re the guy who serves you food at the restaurant, we’re even the doctor that takes care of your children when they get sick."
Organizer Karen Schraufnagel said that the group's formal name is 'Minnesotans Against Islamophobia' and pointed out that the Saturday protest was endorsed by 26 different local organizations.
Adam Burch, another rally attendee, highlighted a reason for the protest:
"People profile [Islam] as being a religion of hate [and its people] terrorists quite frankly. And that’s just not true.”
“I hear a lot of Islamophobic remarks in some of my family circles, or some friend groups,” said Janna Burger of Des Moines.
Many Minnesotans feel directly connected to the issue, as Minnesota has the highest population of Somalis in the country. Islamophobia is a daily reality for many of them.
“They have to help us with this fight. That’s all I have to say. They just can’t say, ‘Well, they’re going to go out there and do this for us.” You’ve got to be a part of this as well,” Mustafa said.
About an hour after the protest, a panel discussion on Islamophobia was held, KSTP reports. The two events were part of a larger, national call to action by the group Stand Together Against Racism and Islamophobia.