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A coalition of Muslim advocacy groups visited the State House Thursday in an effort to increase the religion's profile in government.
Organizers say the purpose of the first-ever "Muslim Day on the Hill" was to encourage Muslims to become more engaged in state government.
"We must be thought leaders and exemplars in our communities for basic social justice," said Cambridge City Councilor Nadeem Mazen, who's Muslim. "And we're meeting with our legislators to remind them that we are hundreds, thousands, and in many cases tens of thousands strong in their communities."
Participants urged legislators to support a handful of bills pertaining to issues including affordable housing and criminal justice reform.
Before the State House event, John Robbins, the head of the Massachusetts chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, told WBUR that the effort also aimed to show that Islam and America are not adversaries.
"We believe strongly in American values of democracy and representative society," Robbins said. "We feel the best way to do that is with engagement and with viable connections with these institutions, and that we are proud of doing so."
With reporting by WBUR's Steve Brown