On a recent cold morning, Miriam Amer sat in the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids gushing about a protege.

Her friend is the president of the Al-Noor Islamic Community Center in Waterloo and is involved in other organizations throughout Eastern Iowa. Amer said she's proud of her friend's leadership abilities, but her friend's husband has remarked on the change in his wife.

"Get used to it, pal," Amer said. "She runs everywhere and is doing everything. He's seen that she's become far more outspoken and she's become political. She always shied away from it."

It's a transition Amer herself has undergone.

As the executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations for Iowa, she spends her days advocating for civil rights, especially those of Muslims.

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