Republicans Trying To Unify Community After Islamophobic Violence
When members of the Libertarian sect of Republicans met for their annual conference, they did so at an unusual location: a mosque.
It is no secret that Republicans, no matter their affiliation, and Muslims, have a shaky relationship at best, but that did not stop the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota from having their meeting at a Muslim place of worship. The respective leaders of the mosque, Abdulahi Farah, and the Republicans, Zavier Bicott, met through a program called “One Bloomington” which encourages leadership to improve inclusion and other local programs and formed the idea of the meeting taking place at the local mosque.
The Dar al-Farooq mosque, the setting of the conference, is important for both Republicans and Muslims alike. Last year, members of a white power group allegedly set off an explosive device that caused some damage but no injuries. Despite the outpouring of support from the local community as the members of the mosque sought to mend the physical and mental damage inflicted upon them, there is still an active undercurrent of distrust towards Muslims that seek to stifle the meeting before it started.
Many people on social media took to their keyboards to say that the meeting was ill-advised. Bicott, who recently revealed the plan to the public, has received some backlash saying that holding their conference at a mosque was stupid, or that they should be ashamed for holding a meeting at a holy place for a religion they feel is trying to harm America. Bicott was not affected by those individuals and decided that it was time for the Republican party to reach out to new groups for support.
Bicott stated that there are many times when Democrats are the group that comes to support and offer favors to the Muslim community, while the Republicans sit on the sidelines and lose supporters. The caucus leader argues that many of the conservative ideals between Republicans and Muslims are similar and that this common ground could allow for there to be greater numbers of Muslims joining the Republican party, as long as someone like him is willing to take the first steps towards mending the perceptions of distrust. In a time when the Republican party is facing an upheaval and an identity crisis, they now face an opportunity to be more inclusive of different religions and ideas to strengthen their position and become more cohesive.