Local church program aims to curb Islamophobia

Ikram Al Huq is short, but it is not his height that bothers him.“If you don’t like me because I am short, that’s fine,” he said. “If you don’t like me because of my religion, that’s a problem.”Al Huq is the interfaith and religious coordinator of Bloomington’s Ar Rahman Muslim Community Center, one of 55 such centers in the state. The mosque is growing, and so is the Twin Cities Muslim community. But Al Huq is concerned that Minnesotans still don’t take the time to know their Muslim neighbors.The Muslim Community Center is a participating site in Taking Heart, a program that seeks to introduce people to their Muslim neighbors and begin building bridges across faith communities. Sponsored jointly by the Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC) and the Muslim American Society of Minnesota (MASMN), Taking Heart promotes interfaith understanding by hosting social gatherings.The program began in 2004, when MASMN reached out to MCC after noticing increasing levels of hate speech and Islamophobia. Continue Reading