ST. PAUL, Minn (KMSP) - Crowds gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol Wednesday to celebrate Muslim Day, an annual event that this year reflected the contentious politics of our current moment.
"I think it's necessary for Americans to step up show that everybody is welcome in our country," rally attendee Rich Krisch said.
People voiced their support with chants and signs, hoping to counter what many see as an increase in anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric--the most notable source being a duo of executive orders signed by President Donald Trump banning travel from a host of majority Muslim countries.
This response was not lost on Minnesota's first Somali member of the state House, Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis, who gave a speech today about her experience as a Muslim politician and the increased scrutiny that came with it.
"What I did not expect and what I did not know would happen is that we would have a president who would be part of that scrutiny," she said.
Governor Mark Dayton also spoke out in support of his state's Muslim and immigrant populations, and said those who practice hatred would not be welcome in Minnesota.
At the event Omar also introduced a bill that would force employers to grant two days of unpaid leave a year for religious holidays and stress to school districts the importance of doing the same.