(SEATTLE, WA, 1/5/12) -- On Monday, January 16, some 400 Washington state Muslims are scheduled to meet with dozens of their elected representatives as part of the annual "Washington State Muslims Day at the Capitol." The event, one of the largest of its kind in the nation, is being organized by the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA).
SEE: Washington State Muslims Day at the Capitol
CAIR-WA's event is designed to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his defense of civil rights through positive civic engagement.
WHAT: 5th Annual Washington State Muslims Day at the Capitol
WHERE: Morning Assembly at Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW, Olympia, WA. March to Capitol, Rally on Capitol Steps and Legislative Visits on Capitol Campus
WHEN: Monday, January 16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Detailed schedule to be released closer to event date)
CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-367-4081 or 206-931-3655, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: Some 400 Muslims march from Olympia Center to the Capitol; Muslims rally at Capitol Steps; Legislative appointments 11:15 a.m.-1:45 p.m. (Media welcome to accompany some groups to meetings. Schedules available on request.)
Muslim voters attending the event will represent 33 of the 49 state legislative districts. They will provide information about recent anti-Muslim incidents and will urge their legislators to speak out against Islamophobic rhetoric and hate crimes.
Participants will also urge legislators to take action on other issues, including preserving critical public programs and having a balanced approach to the state budget. They will present legislators and their staff with a copy of the English translation of the Quran, Islam's holy text.
SEE PHOTOS from the previous year's event here.
"This event will provide an opportunity for Muslims from the majority of our state's legislative districts to learn more about the political process and to meet their elected representatives," said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari. "Legislators should take action during this crucial year to allocate funds to preserve critical services for the most vulnerable in our society."
He said the increase in Islamophobic rhetoric and an accompanying spike in bias incidents is another issue of great concern to the state's Muslim community.
Bukhari stated: "We have witnessed 10 anti-Muslim hate crimes in the Northwest in just the past year, which should be serious cause for concern and corrective action. Muslim constituents will work to make lawmakers aware of the growing problem of Islamophobia and of the veiled and camouflaged manner in which it is being promoted. It is imperative that local and national leaders speak out and condemn the growing level of anti-Muslim prejudice and work with their Muslim constituents and their allies to oppose this promotion of bigotry against minorities, whatever the source."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-367-4081 or 206-931-3655, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org