On Wednesday a diverse group gathered at the Chicago Temple to speak out against anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence.
“There is a toxic wind blowing in our country,” Said the Rev. Jesse Jackson. “We must not allow this toxic environment to become policy.”
The leaders say violence against Muslim-Americans has become an urgent problem.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations says in the weeks following the Paris terror attacks, it received more reports of intimidation and violence against American Muslims than during any time since 9/11.
The group highlighted anti-Muslim rhetoric flowing from politicians. The Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is proposing banning Muslim from entering the U.S.
“It is our obligation to stand with those who are being selected to be scapegoats of problems of our country,” said Jesus Chuy Garcia.
The leaders also touched on the continuing debate about the U.S. acceptance of refugees. A number of states have said they will suspend accepting Syrian refugees. The coalition worries this is a bad case of history repeating itself.
The group said they need more people to speak out against intolerance. Rev. Jackson saying first people pointed the figure at Mexican immigrants, then it was refugees, then Muslims. The wind, he said, is blowing in the wrong direction, and people need to take a stand.