SAN DIEGO – Sending a message of tolerance and support to the Muslim community, hundreds took part in rally held in San Diego on Monday, January 18, to show solidarity with the religious minority in response to increasing anti-Muslim rhetoric.
“I think with the elections and everything that’s happening I think there’s a lot of political candidates that are using Muslims as a scapegoat,” said Homayra Yusufi-Marin, a policy advocate for the regional branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, KPBS reported.
“I think that it’s important for all of our allies and communities to really stand together and say that this is not the America we believe in.”
Yusufi-Marin was addressing a rally of about 400 people Balboa Park on Monday to show solidarity with Muslim women.
The rally was co-sponsored by a number of organizations, including the Islamic Center of San Diego, the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice and the League of Women Voters of San Diego.
During the event, Muslim women recounted experiences of bigotry and hate they have been facing recently.
“The Muslim women we know are not like that at all,” Jeanne Brown, president of the League of Women Voters of San Diego, said, rejecting stereotypes about Muslim women.
“Our community needs to welcome them, as we have with all the other groups that have come to San Diego.”
The rally included handing out hijabs to non-Muslim women who wanted to try the Islamic veil and show support to Muslims.
Muslims make up 1% of America’s 322 million population, according to Pew Research center.
Anti-Muslim sentiments have reached an all-time high after the rise of the so-called Islamic State, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Moreover, the Republican presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson, have added to increasing anti-Muslim sentiments.
Trump’s views on immigration have sparked controversy nationwide, especially his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the US.
Two weeks ago, his campaign officials removed a Muslim woman silently protesting at a Trump rally, prompting the Council on American-Islamic Relations to demand an apology from the campaign.