Muslim

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Aug 14, 2017

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Story Synopsis

John Bender / RIPR

Mosques around Rhode Island opened their doors to the public Saturday, in an effort to increase the visibility of Muslims in the Ocean State. Visitors to Masjid Al-Islam in North Smithfield, the state’s largest mosque, had the opportunity to eat halal food, try on a headscarf, and learn more about the religion.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Many Muslims in Rhode Island are feeling anxious about a Trump presidency, following promises to change immigration and refugee policy and discussions of a possible Muslim registry. In response, Muslim community leaders organized a private workshop Sunday to review the legal rights of citizens, immigrants and refugees.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Ahead of the presidential election, we’ve been hearing from voters across the country and the state. Analysts have remarked on the heated rhetoric of this year’s elections; specifically language used to describe immigrants, refugees and Muslim Americans. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

A local Muslim leader reports that tensions are running high in Rhode Island’s Muslim community. There is growing concern about negative backlash following last week’s mass shooting in California.

Imam Farid Ansari of the Muslim American Da’wah Center of Rhode Island says no one from his congregation in greater Providence has mentioned any direct threats or discrimination since the attack last week at a center providing services for the developmentally disabled.

But Ansari said he does feel increased pressure to explain his faith those who are not Muslim.

Members of Rhode Island’s Muslim community are speaking out following the arrest of a Warwick man on charges of aiding an Islamic terrorist group. The man was not known to leaders at one of the state’s largest mosques, Masjid Al-Islam.

Imam Mufti Ikram, who leads the congregation of about 300 to 400 people in North Smithfield, said members were shocked to learn of a terrorist threat.

Officials say the FBI and West Warwick police are investigating a vandalism incident at the Islamic School of Rhode Island as an apparent hate crime. Racial slurs, profanities, and anti-Islamic phrases were spray-painted on entrance of the school over the weekend.

The vandalism occurred Saturday night, according to video surveillance footage.  The incident comes just days after the shooting of 3 Muslim students in North Carolina. The Islamic school, located in West Warwick, serves about 160 children from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.