CAIR-MN to Cosponsor 'Tolerance and the Fear of Islam' Interfaith Dialogue in Little Falls

CAIR-MN-logoEvent prompted by appearance of anti-Muslim hate group leader last year

(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 4/25/14) -- On Tuesday, April 29, interfaith leaders and community members will gather in Little Falls, Minn., for a community dialogue on "Tolerance and the Fear of Islam." Event sponsors include: Little Falls Partners for Peace, Brainerd Area Coalition for Peace, Building Blocks of Islam, and the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN).

WHEN: Tuesday, April 29, 6-8 p.m.
WHERE: St. Francis Hall, St. Francis Convent, 116 8th Avenue SE, Little Falls, MN 56345
CONTACT: CAIR-MN Civil Rights Attorney Ellen Longfellow, 612.206.3360,

"Many individuals in the community have never met a Muslim in person and that allows fear to grow," said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Attorney Ellen Longfellow. "This event seeks to promote a positive discussion around tolerance, respect and community. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best- 'We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.'"

Speakers include:

  • Saly Abd Alla, CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director
  • Jaylani Hussein, CAIR-MN Outreach & Advocacy Director
  • Ian Norwood, Little Falls High School Student
  • Father Virgil Petermeier, St. Cloud Muslim-Christian Dialogue
  • Moderated by Kevin LaNave, Director of the Center for Learning Services and Social Change

The event was organized after community leaders and activists considered the negative impact a speech by an anti-Muslim speaker had in the community last year. On July 29, 2013, the Central Minnesota Tea Party featured anti-Muslim speaker Brigitte Gabriel from the hate group ACT! for America in Little Falls.

Gabriel claims an American Muslim "cannot be a loyal citizen" and that Islam is the "real enemy." She once told the Australian Jewish News: "Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim." She also claimed that "Islamo-fascism is a politically-correct word .. it's the vehicle for Islam ... Islam is the problem."

The New York Times stated: " presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practice the religion."

SEE: CAIR Islamophobia Backgrounder: ACT! for America and 'Brigitte Gabriel'

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

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-MN Civil Rights Attorney Ellen Longfellow, 612.206.3360,; CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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