(NECN: Brian Burnell, Hartford, Conn.) - The Islamic Circle of North American and Muslim American Society's 33rd Annual National Convention will be held from July 4-6 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. As many as 10,000 Muslims will gather and one of their goals is to fight what they call "Islamophobia."
This is the fourth year that Hartford will host the event. The convention itself will be held here at the Connecticut Convention Center, but perhaps the most important event of the whole weekend is next door at the Marriott Hotel. It's called "The Window to Islam," an all day symposium open to anyone who wants to walk in a take part. Islamic scholars will be speaking and answering questions. The idea -- break down the stereotypes and open up a dialogue.
Islamophobia has become part of the presidential campaign. Internet chatter continues to link Democratic hopeful Barack Obama to Islam, despite the fact that he has long been a member of the United Church of Christ, even addressing its convention in Hartford last June. Still, recent polls show 14% of those asked believe Obama is a Muslim. The way his campaign deals with that concerns Muslims.
More controversy was stirred up when Obama campaign staffers refused to allow two Muslim women in head scarves sit behind the candidate for a televised event presumably so they would not be seen on TV and connected to Obama.