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#UnMinnesotan ad speaks out against prejudice toward Muslims

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Some of Minnesota's political, educational and business leaders took a public stance against prejudice toward Muslims in a Star Tribune ad published Monday.

"Though we may be a soft-spoken bunch, we know better than to be silent or still in the face of bigotry toward Muslims. Our fellow Minnesotans," reads one part of the full-page ad.

It comes at a time as the treatment toward Muslims has been in the local and national media spotlight. (More on that below.)

Who's behind it?

Forty-nine names of Minnesota leaders are listed. That includes Gov. Mark Dayton, as well as other democrats including U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan, Tim Walz and Keith Ellison.

The only republicans to sign were former candidates and officeholders, the Star Tribune notes.

Here's a full look at the ad from Walz.

"My hope is that those who read this ad will feel inspired to speak out against any prejudice towards Muslim-Americans they may be witnessing," Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to U.S. Congress, told the Star Tribune.

Educational leaders who participated in the letter include presidents of the University of Minnesota, Augsburg College and Macalester College.

Business leaders include the Pohlad family (whose Pohlad Companies own BringMeTheNews), and CEOs of Best Buy, General Mills, Cargill, Piper Jaffray, Medtronic, Pentair, HealthPartners and the Mayo Clinic.

"We want every Minnesotan, as well as those who visit us, to know that they are welcome here and have our support," said the CEO of Mayo Clinic Dr. John Noseworthy.

#UnMinnesotan hashtag

The hashtag #UnMinnesotan was included in the ad, to encourage social media sharing. #UnMinnesotan was one of the top Twitter trends in the state on Monday – here's a sampling of tweets.

Muslims in Minnesota and the US

In December, local Minnesota leaders met in Minneapolis to talk about public perception of, and reaction toward, Muslims in America (an event Ellison attended).

It came after Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump called for ban on Muslims entering the United States, sparking a national dialogue over tolerance toward Muslims – in St. Paul, the City Council voted to condemn him for those comments.

One Twin Cities cafe responded by putting up a sign saying, "All are welcome here," and they "stand with our Muslim community members."

Then there are statewide incidents and cases.

  • Last month, City Pages published an article called, "St. Cloud is the worst place in Minnesota to be Somali." It went into the discrimination Muslims face in the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the state.
  • In late December, the mayor of Superior, Wisconsin was criticized for an anti-Muslim comment directed at the Obamas. He later apologized and met with a local Islamic Center.
  • In October, a school board member resigned over Facebook comments directed toward Muslims.
  • A Muslim civil rights group sued a Minnesota town that rejected an Islamic cemetery, claiming discrimination.
  • There have been a number of debates over mosque proposals in Minnesota cities as well.

According to PEW Research Center there are about 3.3 million Muslims living in the US, a number that is likely to double by 2050.

According to a recent PEW Research study, Muslims are one of the most negatively viewed religious groups in the U.S.

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