Muslim Community Reaching Out Amidst Political Attacks

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Des Moines Muslim community is working to build and rebuild relationships damaged after negative political rhetoric towards Muslims and the Islamic faith. However, its efforts aren’t anything new.

However, its efforts aren’t anything new.

“What`s important when we go out to speak to people. I think the interaction and the close contact that we have with people is so important because so many people tell us they never met a Muslim before,” says a man who goes by the name Brother Jamal.

Since the aftermath of Sept. 11, the Islamic Center of Des Moines has focused its efforts on community outreach. Its goal is to help break the negative stigma of being Muslim.

Mosque elders say any time political leaders talk negatively about Islamic followers, it gives the Muslim community and opportunity to bridge the gap.

“Part of our religion is peaceful and we have to forgive others even if they did something bad against us,” says Driss Hmizou.

Hmizou is a member of the center’s election committee. The mosque held an election to vote in a new mosque leader and board members  on Sunday.

Members say having a strong core within the mosque is crucial to a positive community outreach.

“I believe it’s those types of interactions that people remember," Brother Jamal says. "When they leave here or when we go out and speak, it may be something small or simple but they remember that.”