Around 400 people in Iowa State show their support for Muslims

Cedar Rapids City, Iowa State (IINA) – About 400 people gathered at North America’s longest-standing mosque in Cedar Rapids on Sunday to show support for the Muslim community.

People traveled to Cedar Rapids’ Mother Mosque in Iowa State, USA on Sunday to form a circle around the building and show their support.

The event was organized in part by Erin Bustin of Grinnell. Bustin said she wanted to find a way to show her support for Muslims after mosques around the country were vandalized or sent hate mail in recent months, and after President Donald Trump had signed executive orders banning citizens of seven Majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S, The Eastern Iowa Gazette reported.

Bustin said she also disagreed with Rep. Steve King’s recent tweet referring to Muslims. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies, the tweet said.

Bustin said she wanted Muslims to know Iowans support them. She reached out to the Rev. Wendy Abrahamson in Grinnell. The two began planning the Multifaith rally with Imam Taha Tawil, the leader of the Mother Mosque in Cedar Rapids.

Their plans came to fruition on a soggy Sunday afternoon, as hundreds of Iowans of various ethnicities and faiths filled the mosque’s lawn, overflowing onto the sidewalks. One group even traveled from Chicago, Bustin said.

Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Meskwaki Native Americans, Christians and others spoke at the event to show support for Muslims and religious freedom. After the speeches, the group sang This Land is Your Land and formed a symbolic human shield around the small, white building.

Tawil said he was thankful the group could share values of pluralism, diversity, acceptance and tolerance at the Mother Mosque, which was built in 1936 and is one of the longest-standing mosques in North America.

We are not going back in the dark past where civil war and human rights violations have divided our communities, Tawil said.

Sara Sayed, a Muslim from Cedar Rapids, said she was overwhelmed by the amount of support. She said the event was an opportunity for all Iowans to stand against prejudice.

It’s an (opportunity) for everybody else to say I’m not a part of this, just like when I see any violence (committed by a Muslim), I say … ‘I’m not a part of that,’ Sayed said. It’s up to each one of us to keep up this momentum.

Source: International Islamic News Agency