As demonstrators lined up down the south entrance of the Capitol for Tuesday’s Muslim Capitol Day, volunteers registered bystanders and attendees with CAIR. CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, played an active role in organizing and participating in the event. Attendees surrounded the center of the crowd, holding hands, and cheering as Muslims in traditional Muslim garb approached the rally.
Prior to the rally’s official 10:00 am start, two counter-protesters shouted criticisms of Mohammed at the crowd prompting some back and forth with a few agitated members of the crowd. The event was opened by the Director of Houston CAIR. As he spoke to the crowd, he shouted, “This is what America looks like. This is what Texas looks like!” He thanked a plethora of groups for their support including “priests, rabbis, atheists, women’s groups, LGBTQ, Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, LDS, and Jewish” communities.
The Director of San Antonio CAIR gave the welcome speech affirming that the attendees, and specifically Muslims, “are the leaders of tomorrow” and should be allowed to work in DC regardless of faith or gender.
The event’s House sponsor, Rep. Celia Israel, spoke to the crowd: “Texas needs you and you belong here.” Rep. Celia Israel was joined by two other members of the Texas House of Representatives, Rep. Ina Minjarez who said to the crowd, “You are welcomed, you are loved, and you matter”, and Rep. Victoria Neave who thanked the crowed for showing her “what democracy looks like.”
The Austin mayor, Steve Adler, and five of the city council members showed up in force to support Capitol Muslim Day. Austin City Council member Gregorio Casar, who was instrumental in passing an anti-islamophobia resolution, referenced President Trump’s executive actions in his speech. He incited a great deal of excitement in the crowd when he promised to “stand against islamophobia in the Legislature, in the Governor’s Mansion, or in the White House.” He then followed up by leading the audience in chanting “No ban, no wall!”
After the rally had concluded, members of the group dispersed into the Capitol to meet with legislators about the State’s relationship with the Islamic community, coming on the heels of a homeland security forum on radical Islam held by Rep. Biedermann’s office
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