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Lutheran Church Offers Sanctuary to Muslim Rights Group

Lutheran Church Offers Sanctuary to Muslim Rights Group

MINNEAPOLIS – A local Lutheran church in Minneapolis offered their neighboring Muslim civil rights group a place for their new expanded office, serving them a special sanctuary against hate messages and phone calls the group has been getting over the past weeks.

“These are our allies,” Jaylani Hussein, local executive director of the Minneapolis office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was quoted by Star Tribune on Sunday, January 28.

“These are the people that stood with us when we were challenging Islamophobia.”

CAIR Minneapolis has been looking for an expanded office to hold the growing staff.

The new threats, hate-filled letters and menacing phone calls directed at the organization sent the group searching for more than a bigger office.

That place was offered by the Rev. Mike Matson, pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church.

The congregation has parishioners from across the political spectrum and strives to be open and “willing to come to the middle … where it’s messy, but safely and with integrity,” he said, lamenting the unfortunate anger and division in the country.

“We wanted to be a model of how people can come together so that we can stop all that rhetoric of hate, name-calling or labeling,” Matson said.

Acknowledging serious threats CAIR has been facing, at least three of which were reported to police in 2015, Matson said his congregation remains undeterred.

Dianne Holte, president of the Bethany Lutheran Church Council said the group voted unanimously in support of leasing the space to CAIR and building an interfaith partnership. Discussion about partnering with CAIR started last spring, with the Augsburg College Campus Ministry helping make the connection.

“We are honored to have them house their offices within our walls,” Holte said.

Dianne Holte, president of the Bethany Lutheran Church Council said the group voted unanimously in support of leasing the space to CAIR and building an interfaith partnership. Discussion about partnering with CAIR started last spring, with the Augsburg College Campus Ministry helping make the connection.

“We are honored to have them house their offices within our walls,” Holte said.

At a time when Trump uses a rhetoric focusing on dividing people, Mustafa Diriye, a community activist who was at the open house, said he’s happy to see CAIR breaking down barriers between different faiths

“We have to be unified”

“We have to be unified in times of difficulty,” Diriye said. “Our prophet teaches us to work with people.”


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