Interfaith leaders and community members will gather in Little Falls, Wednesday, Dec. 4, for a community dialogue on “Tolerance and the Fear of Islam.” Event sponsors include: Little Falls Partners for Peace, Brainerd Area Coalition for Peace, Building Blocks of Islam and the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN).
The event will be held at St. Francis Hall in the Franciscan Center, 116 Eighth Ave. S.E., from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
“Many individuals in the community have never met a Muslim in person and that allows fear to grow,” said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Attorney Ellen Longfellow. “This event seeks to promote a positive discussion around tolerance, respect and community. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: ‘We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.’”
Speakers include Saly Abd Alla, CAIR-MN civil rights director; Jaylani Hussein CAIR-MN outreach and advocacy director; Ian Norwood Little Falls Community High School student; and Father Virgil Petermeier, St. Cloud Muslim-Christian Dialogue. The dialogue will be moderated by Jeff Odendahl of the Franciscan Center.
The event was organized after community leaders and activists considered the negative impact a speech by an anti-Muslim speaker had in Little Falls earlier this year. On July 29, the Central Minnesota Tea Party featured anti-Muslim speaker Brigitte Gabriel from the group ACT! For America.
The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.