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Texas Faith Leaders Support Muslim Friends

IRVING – Leaders of different faiths stood united earlier this week in Texas to send a message of solidarity to Muslims and immigrants, rejecting the looming temporary ban on many refugees issued by President Donald Trump.

“We will not tolerate it,” said Imam Omar Suleiman in a news conference in Irving, a city with a large concentration of Muslims and foreign-born people, Dallas News reported on Thursday, January 26.

“I invite any one of our government officials or our neighbors to get to know us in the spirit of friendship, not suspicion.”

Imam Suleiman, a popular Muslim religious leader in Texas and the US, stood surrounded by supporters from other faiths, immigration activists and Democratic Party leaders.

Coming before the Texas Muslim Capitol Day on Jan. 31, it was called after state Rep. Kyle Biederann, a Republican in Fredericksburg, sent a letter to Muslim leaders asking them to sign a pledge repudiating “institutionalized Shari`ah” and support for secular governance and democracy.

 Immigration activist Carlos Quintanilla addresses a crowd outside Irving City Hall. (Tom Fox/Staff Photographer)

Immigration activist Carlos Quintanilla addresses a crowd outside Irving City Hall. (Tom Fox/Staff Photographer)

Then, Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne’s name appeared on a flier as a speaker this Thursday at a security seminar sponsored by Biedermann with the subtitle “Defending Against Radical Islamic Terrorism in Texas.”

About a dozen activists and faith leaders gathered outside Irving City Hall to ask that Van Duyne not participate in a seminar they said unfairly targets Muslims.

The Rev. Michael Waters of the Joy Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dallas drew parallels between Biedermann’s poll and literacy tests that African-Americans were required to take to vote in the South in past decades.

Those “Jim Crow” laws were designed to curb black participation in American democracy.

“We are mindful of the wise words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Waters said.

“They echo forth even to this day to declare that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We must resist.”

Suleiman said the rapid flow of executive orders by Trump is “so overwhelming.”

“If he thinks he can do this without heavy challenges because he has a Republican government, he is wrong,” he added.

Muslims make up 1% of America’s 322 million population, according to Pew Research center.

News of expected Muslim ban was reported by Reuters on Tuesday, citing congressional aides who said that Trump was expected to sign executive orders that limited immigration for refugees “and some visa holders from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.”

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