Highlighting what they say is a national increase in anti-Muslim bias, triggered in part by the rhetoric of some Republican presidential candidates, about 50 amateur lobbyists affiliated with the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations converged at the state capitol to pitch lawmakers on a range of social issues.
Armed with a talking-points memo and posters emblazoned with "I am a proud American Muslim" and "Islamophobia = Racism," the members of the advocacy group fanned out for office visits with legislators and their staffs.
Some of the men wore beards and knitted skullcaps. Some of the women wore hijabs. They spoke about anti-Arab bigotry, the Syrian refugee crisis, the movement to have two major Muslim fast days recognized as school holidays in Philadelphia, three state Senate bills that would affect the price of in-state college tuition, eligibility for driver's licenses, and employment opportunities for authorized and undocumented immigrants.