A few hundred people gathered at North America’s longest-standing mosque in Cedar Rapids Sunday to show support for the Muslim community.
Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, Native American and atheist leaders spoke to a crowd at the Mother Mosque of America about equality, acceptance and love.
The interfaith rally was held to counteract recent hate crimes and anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Mother Mosque Imam Taha Tawil thanked the participants for supporting tolerance and religious freedom.
“We want you to know that your support and encouragement to your fellow citizens, your Muslim neighbors, are the fuel that keeps us going," Tawil said. "It is like when the rain comes on dry land and then causes it to grow again.”
Event organizer Erin Bustin said she wants the rally to show the world that Iowans stand for diversity and peace.
“Today, Iowans stand with, alongside and around our Muslim friends and neighbors to tell you that you are loved, you are welcome, and you are part of us,” Bustin said.
The few hundred people gathered there sang "This Land is Your Land." Then, they formed a circle around the mosque as a symbol of their support.