ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The University of Minnesota Rochester, the Rochester Diversity Council and Community Interfaith Dialogue on Islam hosted a forum Thursday to discuss Islamophobia. Muslims in the community share their experiences and hope their stories bring peace and understanding.
“I hope that people can connect maybe with someone they don’t know. And really also I want people to come away with a sense of hope,” said Regina Mustafa, founder of Community Interfaith Dialogue on Islam. “There’s really no better way of starting that than by having open and honest discussions about it and meeting your neighbors.”
The event drew a crowd of curious people wanting to learn ways to become an ally after hearing about the challenges local Muslims face. The number of hate crimes filed in 20-17 was nearly double the previous year, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Reports of Hate crimes against the Muslim community in Minnesota and across the country are on the rise. Local incidents indicating this trend include a Rochester mosque desecrated with bacon and a rock was thrown through its window, both happening this past summer.
Participants rotated around three workshops. One focused on Muslim women in leadership roles in the workplace. Another discussing what can be done to respond to hate crimes or incidents related to Islamophobia, and the third highlighting Muslim youth and their perspectives. Mustafa says the best way to tackle Islamophobia was to look at the roots of the problems including stereotypes of Muslims.