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CAIR-WA ‘Muslim Day at the Capitol’ Addresses Hate Crimes, Religious Accommodations, Protection for Immigrants

(SEATTLE, WA, 3/22/19) — On Thursday, March 21st Muslim community members and leaders met with state lawmakers in Olympia as part of “Washington Muslim Day at the Capitol” (MDAC) organized by the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA).

Participants, drawn from all over the state, met with lawmakers to request consideration of bills that will impact their communities and the state. Priority issues for the coalition include a religious accommodation bill focused on the rights of religious students in our state, hate crimes legislation, and the “Keep Washington Working Act,” which would strengthen career pathways for immigrants and limit the state’s ability federal registry policies.

“I’m tired of sitting on the sidelines and not being heard,” said Sara Mohamed, who took the day off of work to attend MDAC and is particularly interested in increased hate crimes legislation. “We need to prevent hate crimes, make the public educated and aware of what these incidents do to a community. Whether it’s Tree of Life Synagogue, New Zealand or Charlottesville it’s time to do something.”

Governor Jay Inslee joined the group for lunch and took questions from the audience about housing, youth leadership mosque security and anti-Muslim school bullying. On the last topic, the Governor earned applause by stating, “If anyone is bullying any of your kids, you give me a call.”

Executive Director of CAIR-WA, Masih Fouladi said that religious accommodations are particularly important to him. “I remember taking exams while fasting for Ramadan and struggling to find private places to pray while in school,” said Fouladi, “Thanks to the hard work of students, interfaith leaders and Senator Bob Hasegawa, we hope to see a bill pass that would allow religious students to practice their faith comfortably and proudly while also prioritizing their studies.”

Fouladi added: “At the midterms, we saw a wave of political engagement and enthusiasm from the Muslim community here in Washington state and CAIR-WA is thrilled to help bring some of that enthusiasm to this legislative session. Our region is home to one of the fastest growing Muslim populations and it’s crucial that local lawmakers see us as vocal and engaged constituents.”

“I am inspired by the diverse group of individuals elected to office this fall,” said McKenna Lux, CAIR-WA Advocacy Coordinator, “Muslim Day at the Capitol is a chance to elevate Muslim voices and help ensure that our state representatives are accountable to all of their constituents.”

CAIR-WA’s Muslim Capitol Day is just one of CAIR’s civic engagement efforts for 2019.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

END

MEDIA CONTACT: CAIR-WA Media & Outreach Director Sarah Stuteville, sstuteville@cair.com, 206-403-3931

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