Explaining Islam: A mosque starts a ‘Know Islam’ booth to engage public at farmers market booth

  • Muslims have been facing what they see as a tide of vitriol against them during the past two years, which has included hate crimes and harassment. Muslim leaders say that sentiment is fueled by the policies of President Trump’s administration, including attempts to ban immigration from Muslim-majority countries.
  • For some of the nation’s small-town mosques and groups of recent immigrants, the instinct has been to turn inward, keep a low profile, buy security cameras, and tell young people to avoid confrontations. Other communities have tried the exact opposite: public engagement.
  • The Islamic Center of Las Cruces, the only mosque in this desert town of 101,000 about an hour north of the Mexican border. Hussain and other members of the mosque’s Dawa — or outreach committee — come here, to the town’s farmers market, and set up a sign that says “Know Islam” amid the stalls hawking apples, kettle corn and handmade soaps.
  • Sometimes the conversations get difficult — maybe even a little uncomfortable or combative — but the volunteers do their best to stay calm and friendly.

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