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Religious groups to hold ‘Tolerance and Fear of Islam’ event in Little Falls

Several area groups and the Council on American-Islamic Relations are holding the event in response to a summer speech by a speaker they consider “anti-Muslim.”

In response to a speech in Little Falls this summer by Brigitte Gabriel, who spoke of “the rise of global Islamic terrorism,” several groups in the area are sponsoring an event called “Tolerance and the Fear of Islam.”

The Dec. 4 event, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Franciscan Center in Little Falls, is billed as an interfaith response to Gabriel’s speech to the Central Minnesota Tea Party in July.

Gabriel also spoke to the Southern Minnesota Tea Party in Mankato the same week, and a reporter from New Ulm covering it noted that Gabriel:

“…claimed coordinated effort by the Muslim Brotherhood was the cause of increased radical Muslim terrorist attacks, and that the Brotherhood was working with radical Islamists to infiltrate the U.S. to brainwash students with propaganda and use its progressive policies against it.”

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The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations had unsuccessfully tried to stop Gabriel’s speech in Little Falls because it was held in a school building, but school officials determined it fell within the district’s guidelines for an outside event.

The Little Falls event drew more than 600 people, with six protesters outside. The Dec. 4 event will be a counterpoint to Gabriel’s message, CAIR said.

“Many individuals in the community have never met a Muslim in person and that allows fear to grow,” said Ellen Longfellow, civil rights attorney for the group. “This event seeks to promote a positive discussion around tolerance, respect and community.”

Sponsors include:

  • Little Falls Partners for Peace
  • Brainerd Area Coalition for Peace
  • Building Blocks of Islam
  • Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

 The event is free and open to the public.