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DETROIT (WXYZ) - A group of local and state leaders, as well as congress members, stood united next to fellow Americans who happened to be Muslim at a rally, to say Islamophobia must end.
“We have to come together and stand together like we are doing today,” said Brenda Rosenberg of Pathways to Peace Foundation.
“We’ve been under pressure for years, but the last 15 days have been very, very tough,” said Osama Siblani from Arab American News.
The group includes Congressman John Conyers, Congresswomen Brenda Lawrence and Debbie Dingell, NAACP President Wendell Anthony, US Attorney Eastern District Barb McQuade, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, and Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad.
They are sending a message to those who have been speaking out against Muslims after recent attacks carried out by Muslim extremists, saying the hateful comments are not just harmful to a religious group of people in the US, but harmful to national security.
“Stop asking us to apologize for the terrorists, because we are their first victims,” said Siblani.
“They love to use that false narrative that America is at war with Islam. They use the images and rhetoric to recruit online and around the world. So when we feed into that, we are playing right into their hand,” said McQuade.
Local Muslim leaders say they are not surprised that there has be a subsequent surge of violence and threats against those who are perceived to be Arab or Muslim.
“This is not Muslim versus others,” Siblani. “It is us versus the bigots, who are trying to divide us and conquer our nation.”
The group is calling the demand made by some political candidates in the media to ban Muslims from entering the United States or preventing them from holding public office unAmerican.
They stated Muslim Americans are just as American as anyone else.
“Just in case you did not hear it before, here it is again,” said Siblani. “We, the Arab-Muslim community condemn terror acts.”