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600 Attend Muslim Day at California Capitol

CAIRO – Hundreds of American Muslims gathered in Sacramento on Monday to mark the annual “Muslim Day at the Capitol,” to meet with state legislators and discuss issues of concern. “This is absolutely important in our community,” Hanif Mohebi, executive director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told San Diego Union Tribune. “It shows the growth in our community and our growth in civic engagement.” The event, hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ California office, attracted 600 people from across the state, including 60 from CAIR’s San Diego chapter. The number reflects a huge increase from the first event in 2011 which attracted only 70 people. “If I had told someone five years ago, ‘let’s take (nearly) 1,000 Muslims to Sacramento,’ they probably would’ve laughed. But today they would believe me,” he said. Meeting with legislators, Muslims discussed legislations important for a variety of civil rights issues, including protection for immigrants from deportation, measures to prevent school bullying, and for police accountability. For example, the group said it supports Assembly Bill 2845 which promotes the creation of programs to address bullying against Muslim, Sikh and Middle Eastern students. A 2015 report from CAIR found that Muslim students are bullied at higher rates than their peers. About 55 percent of Muslim students have experienced some form of bullying in schools, according to the organization.