Religious groups come out in support of Muslim community

While many people around the U.S. from local leaders to presidential candidates are calling for limitations on Muslims, some people in our area are welcoming the Muslim community.

As a Quaker, Carbondale Interfaith Council President Maurine Pyle is no stranger to questions about her religion. She says she and other members of the council saw the Muslim community here and around the U.S. being stereotyped by their religion.

"And so, they were very upset by being blamed for criminal behavior by some terrorists who adopt the title of Muslim," said Maurine Pyle, President of the Carbondale Interfaith Council.

She says it inspired them to write a letter showing their support and respect for the Muslim community, signed by many different people and religious groups in the area.

"We decided as a community we needed to stand up and say these are our friends, these are our neighbors, and we believe in religious freedom and we would like to show our support. So we wrote the letter," Pyle said.

Immediately after seeing the letter published in the Southern Illinoisan, Pyle says she’s heard from members of the Muslim community in Carbondale, many of them telling her they’re grateful for the kind words that were shared.

"When good people can stand up against lies, it’s powerful antidote to hatred," Pyle said.

She says this won’t be the end of unfair stereotypes but they’re hopeful that something like this, though small, can help.

Members of the Muslim community said Tuesday they’re very appreciative to see the letter and the show of support and respect it shows them. They say they hope something like this encourages people to come together, uniting in their communities.

To read the letter, click here.

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