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Security heightened at Capitol following threats to Muslims

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Security was heightened at the State Capitol for Texas Muslim Day after some threats were made on an anti-Islam website.

Muslims from across the state spent the day at the Texas Capitol.

"Muslims are part of the fabric of America and Texas today and we want to be here and let our representatives know we're living in the communities," said Hadi Jawad, a volunteer for the Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) helped put on "Texas Muslim Day at the Capitol."

One of the big topics of discussion was religious freedom.

According to CAIR, once Texas Muslim Day was announced, threats were posted on anti-Islam website, "Bar Naked Islam."

"Certain segments of our society filled with hate and fear toward anything that remotely resembles anything new, have responded with their usual venom and hatred and fear toward Muslims," said Jawad. That's why additional DPS troopers were brought in for protection during the event.

State Representative Lon Bernam (D, Fort Worth), who spoke during the event, says it's unfortunate that had to be done.

"It's sad we had to deal with this. It cost the state extra money in security with DPS personnel," he said.

Many Muslims showed up to speak with state lawmakers about legislation important to them, including any bills that may be filed regarding Sharia law, which is the moral code and religious law of Islam.

"There's some misunderstanding about what Sharia law means in American society, and certain special interest groups have manipulated that issue," Jawad said.

University of Texas graduate and aspiring TV reporter Sobia Lodhi wears a head scarf. She believes that is the reason she has not been able to get a job since she graduated in 2010.

"Unfortunately the ultimatum comes down to, are you willing to remove your scarf or go behind the scenes?"

She hopes events like this one help increase acceptance of Islamic beliefs and open up communication between Muslims and state lawmakers.

"I definitely think today shows that we're open to coming through, asking questions, finding out what can be done, connecting with our government in a way."

Representative Bernam adds, "There's always more that could be done in the larger community in here to support the notion that Texans are very, very diverse."

CAIR has received threats in the past. In 2011, they contacted the FBI to investigate similar messages posted on the same web site.

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