A coalition of religious leaders is having a unity prayer gathering on west steps of the State Capitol on Sunday. The group’s purpose is to show solidarity with Iowa Muslims, in light of what it calls, “hateful, divisive language" against Muslims in recent days.
Rev. Billy Young, president of the Pastors and Ministers Alliance of Des Moines, plans to attend. He says the current anti-Muslim climate reminds him of his childhood in Mississippi, where the Klu Klux Klan burnt a cross on his front lawn because his family was African-American.
"That can be very frightening and traumatic for young children. But at that time, the prejudice, they had no concern about us as being human beings," says Young. "So you can turn that around and understand it can be the same way for the Muslims."
Young says while he shares fears that potential terrorists could pose as Muslim immigrants, he feels compelled to reach out to the Muslim community because he says he can’t bring people to Christ through violence.