ST. PAUL – About 200 people, most of them Muslim, gathered at Minnesota’s State Capitol in St. Paul Monday to advocate for religious tolerance and other policy objectives.
The Star Tribune reports that Gov. Mark Dayton read part of the First Amendment to the gathered crowd, emphasizing freedom of religion in his remarks.
“These violations have become daily occurrence, and now they’re condoned, even practiced, by some of the highest levels of our society and our government,” Dayton said according to the Star Tribune, “What terrible example they set for everyone else, especially to our nation’s children and young adults. Is this the way grown-ups are supposed to behave?”
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson received a large round of applause as she was introduced as a key player in overturning President Donald Trump’s first executive order attempting to halt travel to the United States from seven Muslim majority countries. She joined the lawsuit initiated by her counterpart in Washington.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL – Minneapolis) urged lawmakers to support her new bill regarding religious holidays, reports KSTP. The bill would allow employees two unpaid religious holidays per calendar year, and allow students and schools more flexibility regarding religious holidays as well.
Other legislative priorities of the event’s organizers included opposing firearms proliferation, and removing a marriage disincentive included in the administration of the Minnesota Family Investment Program, reports KSTP. This program supports working low income families with children via cash and food assistance benefits. Currently if a single parent marries while receiving those benefits, their spouse’s income is counted in their household income and they may no longer be eligible for benefits.
A few people showed up to demonstrate against the event. The Pioneer Press reports that Kristina Horacek of Zimmerman held a sign saying that Sharia law opposes the First and Second Amendments. Her concern primarily manifests with the treatment of women in several Muslim majority countries.
Little known Republican candidate for governor Christopher Chamberlain was also in attendance and told the Pioneer Press he believes Muslims want to impose Sharia law on everyone else as part of a 1,400-year plan.