This January 22nd, Muslims from all over the state of Kentucky arrived at the State Capitol Building in Frankfurt for the first Muslim Day. Attendees pray in the Rotunda and received training on how to advocate for issues affecting the Muslim community. They came with a message of love, but unfortunately, some were met with hate. Muslim students attending the first Kentucky Muslim Day at the state’s Capital were met by a group of protesters who shouted hateful speech at the children over megaphones.
Ihsan Bagby, a local leader and an associate professor in the department of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky, spoke at the events in Frankfort and was interviewed by local station WKYT. He explained that for many of the children, it was their first encounter with hateful speech against Muslims, and while the experience was presented on behalf of Christian beliefs, he emphasized that the Muslim community’s relationship with the Christian community was cordial. “I don’t think that is the Christian message,” said Bagby. “I can’t imagine Jesus doing that.”
Dr. Ihsan Bagby is a researcher whose work focuses on Muslims in America. In 2001, he published the results of the first comprehensive study of mosques in America, entitled The Mosque in America: A National Portrait. He is a well-published author and received his PhD in Near Eastern studies from the University of Michigan.
Waheeda Muhammad, chair of the Kentucky chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said one of the goals of the event is to clear up misconceptions about the Islamic faith.