The line between free speech and hate speech has become the balance beam that universities across the country have had to tiptoe along for months.

Controversial speakers have sparked protests, some violent, at colleges large and small.


The line is under scrutiny again this week, this time, here in the Heartland.Robert Spencer runs the website "Jihad Watch" and has written 16 books on Islam -- titles including, ‘The Complete Infidel's Guide to ISIS,’ ‘Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World's Fastest Growing Faith,’ ‘The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims,’ and ‘Religion of Peace?

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CAIR-MO hosts Creativity & Identity: An American-Muslim Exhibition, St. Louis’ first art exhibition made up entirely of works from local Muslim artists. Faizan Syed, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations – Missouri (CAIR-MO), and CAIR Intern Yusra Ali explain how this groundbreaking exhibit came to be.
The show took place on the evening of April 7, 2017 at the 3rd Degree Glass Factory; marking the beginning of what will be an annual event here in St. Louis and may soon become a national campaign.
For more information about this and other upcoming events, visit

aalia rahmanYusra Ali, a student at St. Louis Community College, was a shy child, and took to drawing and painting at an early age as a way to express herself.

As a young adult, and practicing Muslim, she hopes to harness that communicative power of art to help people better understand the nuanced identities of Muslims.

Concerned that people in the larger community tend to lump all Muslims together, Ali organized an exhibit she hopes will help others see people who are Muslim as individuals. Creativity and Identity: A Muslim American Art Exhibition takes place tonight at Third Degree Glassworks.   

“I wanted to show this STL community that there are Muslims here who are more than just the ritualistic practices that is usually taught in schools. That Muslims pray five times a day and do the Haj pilgrimage. No,” Ali said. “We have our own lives and our own identifies and unique things that make us different from each other.”

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yusra ali in search of blissYusra Ali decided to organize an art exhibition after making the rounds at local galleries. Her ceramics teacher at St. Louis Community College-Meramec required students to regularly attend other artists' exhibitions, which the aspiring art therapist found inspiring — in more ways than one.

The 22-year-old St. Louis native noticed the paucity of Muslim artists who were actively showing their work. It surprised her. It also got her thinking about the possibility of creating a group show to fill that gap. "I thought, other minorities have art shows, why don't we? We have our own ambitions, our own inspirations."

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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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Tel: 636-207-8882


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