WASHINGTON (RNS) In the community room of  St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the nerve center of a two-day Muslim lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill, both first-time and veteran lobbyists compared notes:

  • More than three times as many people — 400-plus — showed up to lobby at this year’s annual Muslim Advocacy Day (Monday and Tuesday, May 1-2), compared with the first time the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations held the event in 2015.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, still seemed to be avoiding them.
  • Even the staffers working for Congress members with anti-Muslim reputations appeared friendly.

“Muslims are in catching-up mode,” said Zahid Bukhari, of the Islamic Circle of North America, one of the groups that founded the coalition that organized the lobbying days.

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