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Muslim community reacts to volunteers and police protecting the mosque

"I feel really positive coming out of yesterday."

Posted: Apr. 5, 2018 7:16 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn.—
On Tuesday, community members volunteered to stand outside of the mosque in downtown Rochester—Masjid Abubakar Siddiq—while people are inside praying. The Rochester Police Department also regularly drove past the mosque to make sure everything was okay. This was in response to flyers sent out in Britain in March encouraging people to commit acts of violence against Muslims for "Punish a Muslim Day" on April 3.

The next day, executive director of Community Interfaith Dialogue on Islam Regina Mustafa said that she feels positive. She called it a "positive showing of what community really is and the wonderful interfaith community that we have here in Rochester."

She explained that while she didn't expect anything different, it is still reassuring to know that the community and the Rochester Police Department took these threats seriously. However, she thinks there is still more that can be done to connect the Rochester Muslim community and Rochester law enforcement.

Mustafa says that for minority groups, reaching out to law enforcement when they need help can be intimidating, especially because of their immigration status or fear of discrimination. She thinks that more dialogue and engagement is needed to break down those barriers.

As Rochester continues to grow, Mustafa comments that Muslims and other minority groups will too. "Businesses, elected officials, and the Rochester Police Department need to know how to have better cultural awareness."

Mustafa says that the mosque is currently working to develop security and emergency procedures.

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