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Protestors March Down Cedar Avenue To Combat Islamophobia

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Dozens of protesters marched down Cedar Avenue Saturday, taking a stand against something many are all too familiar with--discrimination.

"I faced racism in the city that I grew up in. I grew up in St. Louis," said Bilal Mustafa, Burnsville.

Mustafa said he has faced discrimination as both an African-American and a converted Muslim. He wanted to participate in the rally with the hope to change the association between Islam and terror.

"We are those who live next door to you, we're the guy who fixes your car, we're the guy who serves you food at the restaurant, we're even the doctor that takes care of your children when they get sick," said Mustafa.

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations organized the march as part of many happenings throughout the country to raise awareness of Islamophobia.

"We created Minnesotans Against Islamophobia. 26 local organizations endorse our action today," said organizer Karen Schraufnagel.

Minnesota has the highest population of Somalis in the country, making Islamophobia a reality for many of them.

"I hear a lot of Islamophobic remarks in some of my family circles, or some friend groups," said Janna Burger, Des Moines.

"It's an issue people don't really know about, and don't understand what they're fearing," said one protester.

Demonstrators are hoping that fear will end, to prevent young people from being isolated.

"They have to help us with this fight. That's all I have to say. They just can't say, 'Well, they're going to go out there and do this for us." You've got to be a part of this as well," said Mustafa.

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