|Governor Visits Frederick Muslims, Speaks Out Against Hate Crimes|
|Community News - Community News|
|Written by S. Junaid Hassan Muslim Link Contributing Writer|
|Thursday, 30 August 2012 09:23|
MD Governor Martin O’Malley addresses Muslim community members and leaders in the musalla of the Islamic Society of Frederick’s masjid. Photo by SJ Hassan
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley paid a daytime visit to the Islamic Society of Frederick on August 29, 2012 to listen to Muslim community concerns regarding incidents of crimes against Muslims and vandalism of Muslim homes and masajid.
The event was organized by the Frederick County Muslim Council with the help of Anwer Hassan, Chair of the Maryland Higher Education Commission and the State’s Middle Eastern Council. Though organized on short notice, the event saw representation from multiple local area Muslim communities and organizations.
The Governor began his visit by meeting with local Muslim leaders and community members before making his way to the prayer hall for the event. Dr. Syed Wasimul Haque, president of the FCMC, opened the meeting by thanking Governor O’Malley for his time and many contributions to the advancement of Muslim community issues in Maryland. In his brief speech, Governor O’Malley acknowledged the efforts of Dr. Haque of the FCMC and Anwer Hassan for his work with the Maryland Higher Education Commission and Middle Eastern Council.
As the floor was opened for discussion, the Governor addressed questions from community members regarding hate crimes against Muslims. He reminded the audience to quickly report such incidents and to be vigilant in following up with local police. O'Malley also acknowledged the steps Maryland took in passing legislation to target hate crime perpetrators. Responding to immigrant issues including families being broken up due to visa inadequacies, he recommended that people contact their state senators regarding the growing issue of families being split apart due to visa problems. Governor O’Malley also addressed the Dream Act, stating that his administration had several referendums in place for voters this year.
“If you graduate from Maryland High Schools, you live in Maryland, and your parents pay Maryland state taxes, then you should be able to pay in-state tuition. We need to educate [our] students if we want to have a vibrant state economy,” said O'Malley.
The Governor praised the work of Muslims within their local communities, stating that his administration benefited from the work and support Muslims throughout the state gave him with their votes as well as in working closely with him to address their concerns. Local leaders discussed the importance of Muslims taking their US residence or citizenship seriously by being involved in the political process and to have their voice heard, so if acts of Islamophobia occur, there is a strong and engaged community ready to address them.
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