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Activists Urge Kentucky Muslims to be Heard During Muslim Day at the State Capitol

Alix Mattingly

Frankfort will welcome hundreds of Muslims from across Kentucky on Wednesday, Jan. 22, for the inaugural Muslim Day at the State Capitol.

Muslims from all over the commonwealth will tour the building, meet with legislators, and pray in the rotunda. 

A resolution in the Kentucky House of Representatives in support of the event states that the Muslim community is "a positive contributor to the health and economic well-being of Kentucky, with Muslims serving as doctors, professors, auto workers, small business owners, and in numerous other professions."

Waheeda Muhammad chairs the Kentucky Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.  In an interview with WKU Public Radio, she said the event is not government-sanctioned.

"This is 100 percent planned and funded by the Kentucky Muslim community," Muhammad said. "No funding for this is coming from outside of Kentucky, and no funding for this is coming from anywhere other than the Muslim community.”

Muhammad says the event is designed to educate Muslims and get them more involved in government, whether it be advocating for certain issues or running for office. 

Muslim visitors also plan to advocate for certain legislation, including stronger anti-bullying laws.  The group has invited Governor Andy Beshear to meet with them. 

Kentucky has 37 mosques and three Muslim schools.  The number of Muslims in Kentucky increased significantly starting in the 1960s, and has doubled each decade afterwards.  The increase has been due to immigration from all parts of the Muslim world, and conversion to Islam largely by African-Americans.

One of the world's most famous Muslims, boxing great Muhammad Ali, hails from Kentucky.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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