bowersAlmost exactly one year later, nine Muslim-Americans, all St. Louisans, show up at CAIR Missouri's main office in Chesterfield. The time for donuts is over. With Trump elected, and Muslim-majority countries targeted in a series of immigration crackdowns, CAIR and its staff are convinced they need to up the ante. Instead of just earning positive media coverage, they're seeking a way to truly engage with the people who distrust them. They're not looking for converts. They just need a truce.

The group assembled at CAIR's St. Louis headquarters this Thursday have come in response to a call for auditions to join the organization's team of "Muslim speakers," a role that will have them speaking not only to classrooms or interfaith conferences, but potentially before crowds with little exposure to Islam outside of Fox News. Both secular and religious Muslims are among those auditioning, including a veiled elementary school teacher and a retired engineer who identifies as Muslim but who was also baptized, decades ago, as a college student.

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Truman State University could have had a public relations nightmare on its hands Thursday night when the student Republican group tested tolerance levels by inviting Robert Spencer to speak.

Spencer is considered anti-Muslim, as he promotes incidents that portray Islam as the radical face of terrorism while ignoring far greater numbers of Muslims who practice their faith in peace.

But the campus wisely arranged for Faizan Syed, the executive director of the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to speak as well. The vast majority of students who attended wore white in solidarity with peaceful dialogue.

“It was a very civil night,” Syed, of St. Louis, said. “We need to do much more of this.”

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To present a different perspective -- the Muslim Students Association invited Faizan Syed.

He's the director of the Council on American-Islam Relations in Missouri.

Syed presented a history of the Muslim faith and culture -- and reminded the room of the country's history of singling out a certain group of faith to be critical of, while Spencer addressed several examples of why people need to be concerned about Islamic terrorists.

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Truman State spokesman Travis Miles said the university was hoping to create an essay contest and develop “an educational experience” based on the two speeches.

Speaking first will be Faizan Syed, the executive director of the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Following him will be Spencer, who has defended himself on his website, writing that if “I am ‘anti-Muslim,’ then foes of the Nazis were ‘anti-German.'”

The College Republicans, which received about $3,000 to bring Spencer to campus from a student committee that allocates funding to student groups, said on Facebook that “unsafe practices will not be tolerated.” The Muslim Student Association also urged calm, requesting that there be no “disruptive protests.”

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About Us

CAIR-MO vision is to be a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding. Our mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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Addresse: 13408 Clayton Rd, St. Louis MO, 63131
Tel: 636-207-8882


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