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Franken Meets With Faith Leaders After Recent Racially Motivated Incidents

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota's top religious leaders are calling for a more serious response, including new laws, after a series of racially-motivated incidents in Minnesota and the U.S.

Those faith leaders met with Democratic Senator Al Franken in St. Paul Tuesday. The group represents millions of Christans, Jews and Muslims in Minnesota.

They were all at one table Tuesday, expressing frustration, even anger, over a growing number of violent racist incidents from Neo-Nazi protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, to the bombing of a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota. Now, they're promising to be more aggressive to stop the growing number of incidents.

"Tears have come back again," Bishop Richard Howell of Shiloh Temple said. "Like Jeremiah, my eyes are so full of tears right now, because I thought this issue was put to rest. And lo and behold, it has resurrected itself."

"A year ago, there were people who had hate in their hearts, but they were afraid to speak it out loud," Imam Asad Zaman of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota said. "But now, permission has been granted, and now it is somehow OK to say these things in public."

"We don't stand for this. This isn't Minnesota," Sen. Franken said. "This isn't America. This isn't right."

Franken said he'd support laws to ban protesters with guns near churches, which is what happened in Charlottesville. Religious leaders say they're looking at ways to sue websites and prosecute hate groups, and they're planning a major anti-discrimination event during next year's Super Bowl.

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