State Rep. Ilhan Omar said she was tormented in sixth grade after she first moved to Minnesota knowing only the words "hello" and "shut up."

She'd cry to her parents, Omar told a group of about 75 people in St. Cloud Tuesday night. "My dad would say, 'Learn the language. Then you'll able to communicate with people.'"

"As they say, it is hard to hate up close," Omar said with state Rep. Erin Murphy by her side for an event on the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in politics.

The group behind the event, Faith in Minnesota, also rallied attendees to take political steps — like vote and vote early — and stir up conversations to combat hateful rhetoric and dog whistles.

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