A diverse group of leaders representing civil rights and religious organizations Tuesday called on Minnesotans to stand against Islamophobia and oppose a federal anti-terror program.

The leaders, who met at the State Office Building for an event organized by the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said they are concerned about recent anti-Muslim comments from presidential candidates and the "negative impact" that the federal government's Countering Violence Extremism program might have on the Muslim community.

"The current climate of Islamophobia, which is creating scapegoating anti-Muslim bigotry, underscores this concern," said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN.

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