Texas Muslim Capitol Day2016

Hundreds of Muslims and even those of other faiths came from all over the state Tuesday for Texas Muslim Capitol Day.  Mustafaa Carroll, Executive Director for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR, says the point is to get people involved.

"To demystify government, to get them to be more politically active and be more concerned with the community at large. Not just about Muslims but about things that are happening in our community," Carroll said.

After the rally, attendees typically meet with lawmakers to discuss legislation they support.

This year, the rally was different.  We have a new President -- one that just signed an executive order, banning citizens from seven nations from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days, which is something some see as an attack on Muslims.

"I'm disappointed to say the least in the President.  But I expected it.  He said he was going to do it.  He said he was going to stop Muslims from coming into the country until he found out what was going on.  So he's living up to his word," Carroll said.

This year attendees linked arms forming a physical barrier, a symbol of solidarity.  But it also made it nearly impossible for something like what happened in 2015 to happen again when an anti-Muslim protestor took the stage and microphone.

This year, there were a few counter-protesters but they didn't get close to the steps until after the rally.

Trump supporter Jake Crosby says he came to video the rally.  He said he supports their right to free speech and assembly.

"I think that shows that we're not a bigoted country, we're not an Islamophobic country," Crosby said.

Mustafaa Carroll says Muslim Day organizers approached both Capitol DPS and Austin Police about beefing up security after what happened in 2015.  They even hired some extra security officers and were a little uneasy about being outside.  But he says everything went fine.

"I didn't expect...they told me we were going to have like 200 folks here.  I beg to differ.  We probably had close to 1,000, maybe 800 but it was wonderful," Carroll said.

To conclude the rally, CAIR DFW Executive Director Alia Salem made a couple of unorthodox "thank you's" to Kyle Beiderman and President Trump.  

"Everybody's like 'no way I'm not clapping.'  They're the one's whose actions have inspired you to be here today and I am grateful to see that hate can turn into absolute love," she said.

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