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Decorah residents resolve to publicly support Muslims

Mel Underbakke, Ph.D., Director of Education, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms

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Dear friends,

A number of concerned Decorah residents joined together last fall to create a resolution in support of our Muslim friends and neighbors, as well as Muslims around the country who are more and more under threat from all sides. The situation is becoming very dangerous as our new president is advocating for a Muslim ban and a Muslim registry.  The aforementioned group felt it was important that Decorah takes a stand for basic human rights and civil freedoms. At the present time, the resolution has been endorsed by the Decorah Human Rights Commission, the Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center, the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, Northeast Iowa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Ryumonji Zen Monastery, Good Shepherd Congregation Council, and First United Methodist Church of Decorah. In addition, over 50 individuals have currently signed the resolution.

It is not too late to sign the resolution supporting Muslims. If you have already signed it, please share this with others.

Signatures will be collected until March 6, at which time the statement will be presented to the Decorah City Council with the request that Decorah pass it as a resolution. If you would like to add your name, you can do so at the Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center, 119 Winnebago St. in Decorah.

The text of the resolution follows:

“Friendship Not Fear: Standing in Solidarity with Muslims in our Local Community and the Nation.”

We, the undersigned, are concerned about the alarming wave of Islamophobia sweeping our nation.  The Muslim students at Luther College, the Somali Muslim community in Postville, and Muslims around the country are our friends and neighbors and they are facing greater challenges in their day-to-day lives as a result of the growing fear. Advocates for Muslims receive threats on a regular basis. While anti-Muslim hate crimes intensify, prominent politicians support proposals that would violate the constitutionally protected rights of citizens to be free to practice the religion of their choice. These proposals include advocating for mosque closings, registration programs, internment camps, and halting refugee resettlement.

Our diverse gifts and perspectives as a community lead us to a common commitment to work for justice, inclusion, and equality. We repudiate the hostility and hatred aimed at Muslims in and beyond our community. We deplore hate speech and fear mongering — and the bigotry and violence they spawn. We pledge to challenge Islamophobia whenever and wherever it occurs, to foster relationships with Muslims based on friendship and not fear, and to serve the common good by maintaining a firm commitment to racial and religious diversity.


Mel Underbakke, Ph.D.

Director of Education,

National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms

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